Many people are happy to sip their margaritas and mojitos without a thought for the people who made them. The truth is that bartending is a very demanding job, with all of the risks of working in an industrial kitchen…but with only four or five feet of space to work in.
The Hectic Environment Behind the Bar Increases the Chances of Workplace Injuries
Nowadays, there is a lot of artistry that goes into getting a cocktail just right—and a lot of potential for injuries as a result. The most common injuries bartenders experience due to their work include:
- Cuts and wounds. Many cocktails require slicing fruit or zesting lemons, placing bartenders at risk if they suddenly look up to respond to a customer’s question. In addition to sharp knives and tools, bartenders are surrounded by many different types of glasses, at least one of which will break and require cleanup every shift.
- Burns. Some drinks require infused syrups or even open flames, placing bartenders at risk of boiling sugar spills, hot water, and the potential ignition of spilled alcohol.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis has been a common complaint among bartenders ever since the cocktail shaker was created. Some bars encourage drink masters to do fancy flips or mix cocktails in both hands at once, increasing the risk of repetitive stress injuries. After eight hours behind the bar, bartenders can perform as much lifting, twisting, and wrist movement as some professional athletes.
- Shoulder injuries. Even if a bartender is used to making cocktails for up to ten hours, he or she may suffer a rotator cuff injury due to the increase in craft cocktails that require up to a minute of continuous stirring—or heavier shakers due to larger ice cubes.
- Head injuries. Head injuries are a constant threat for bartenders due to falling bottles, open cupboards, and even trips on non-slip mats that sends their heads down onto the bar.
- Slips and falls. The floor of a bar is typically swimming with melting ice, spilled drinks, and other debris from the dancing and drinking crowd. If mats are not properly positioned and up to code, bar staff may easily slip and damage their backs, heads, and joints.
- Back problems. Even when nothing goes wrong on a shift, bartenders are still required to stand on their feet all night, lift heavy bottles and ice buckets, and run up and down stairs to refill stock.
Your Employer Should Pay for Your On-the-Job Injury
Employers are required to teach their staff about proper lifting and movement techniques to avoid injury, and are responsible for paying for medical bills after an employee is injured on the job. If your boss is refusing to pay you for your time off work, call us today at (888) 348-2616 or learn more about your rights in our free accident guide, How to Avoid Becoming a Work Injury Horror Story.