“Barista Wrist” the leading cause of injuries in the restaurant trade

February 24, 2019

“Barista Wrist” the leading cause of injuries in the restaurant trade

In their first ever Restaurant Risk Report, a US-based workers compensation insurer, AmTrust Financial – concluded that the cafes and coffee shops were the “most dangerous” places to work in the restaurant industry, in terms of number of workdays lost to injury.

The most prominent cause of this lost time is a repetitive motion injury, colloquially known as “Barista Wrist”, which is caused by tamping; something every barista can do hundreds of times per day. Many traditional tamping tools and techniques force the hand into an unnatural, not ergonomic position. Over a period of time, this can result in injuries to the tissue and tendons in the wrist, causing pain, weakness, loss of grip and mobility problems.

The report cites data compiled from over 84,000 claims made to AmTrust by restaurant industry workers between 2013 and 2017. They found that cafés recorded a staggering 45% higher rate of lost time than any other restaurant type, with barista wrist injuries being the most common complaint, requiring an average of 366 days – a full year of lost time – before sufferers were fit to return to work.

The report recommends that coffee-shop owners provide “automatic tampers or alternatively–designed tampers (such as a flat, handle-less design)” in order to “reduce muscle soreness, wrist strain and fatigue caused by awkward hand positions as they exert force through their wrists, forearms, elbows and back”.

These findings and ergonomic principles reinforce the research conducted during the design process of the PUSH tamper. It’s great to see that the industry is waking up to the potential danger of "barista wrist" and otyher injuries caused by improper tamping techniques and tools - and we’re happy to be able to provide a research-backed solution to these dangers.

Find out more about PUSH ergonomic tampers and get yours here