Ergonomics Research/studies Accommodations/food service

Back, shoulder pain common among coffee shop workers: study

Waterloo, Ontario – Coffee shop workers often experience pain in their shoulders and lower backs caused by preparing and serving beverages, according to a recent study from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada.

Researchers surveyed 59 coffee shop workers in Ontario and videotaped 10 of them as they tamped espresso into metal filter baskets.

Seventy-three percent of the baristas said they experience low back pain, with half of that group attributing the pain to their jobs, researchers said. Sixty-eight percent said they experience shoulder pain, with half attributing the pain to work duties.

Researchers recommended that baristas use automated tampers at least some of the time while on the job. They also recommended that staff members rotate tasks during the day.

The study was published online May 19 in the journal Ergonomics.