30 Oct Barista wrist injuries
When we think of physically demanding jobs, labourers, fire fighters, lumberjacks, and farmers come to mind. But spare a thought for baristas. Just because they don’t appear to be lifting large volumes of bricks or covering hundreds of kilometres a day, doesn’t mean their work isn’t taking its toll.
Each week, baristas spend hours on their feet – grinding, tamping and serving coffee. Most are exposed to awkward hand movements and excessive force through their wrists, forearm, elbow and back.
According to the Australian Government Australian Safety and Compensation Council, hand and wrist injuries are the most common work-related injury type. They account for one third of all workplace injuries, and result in about 8400 hospital admissions each year, of which 3.3 per cent are specific to the café, hotel and restaurant industry. The injuries range from being relatively minor to very severe, with open wounds the most common, followed by superficial wounds, burns, crushes, sprains and fractures.
Karen Fitt, Director of Melbourne Hand Rehab and President of the Australian Hand Therapy Association, says baristas make up many of the hospitality workers that have visited her clinic over the years. She says the most common barista-specific practices that lead to injuries include:
- Manual tamping
- Putting the portafilter into the group head with force
- Whacking the coffee puck out of the group handle
- Tight grip
“Baristas are accustomed to awkward non-neutral postures and manoeuvres that predispose them to injury.”
Read the full Bean Scene feature article [HERE]
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