An organisation providing entertainment services including a café had grown quickly over the last five years. However, management found that kitchen staff were complaining of difficulties with back and knee problems. Management had tried to address the problem by increasing the floor area and space of the kitchen but problems remained and they decided to call CAe for an Ergonomic Risk Assessment.
Manual Handling Risks
The work in the kitchen involved preparing sauces and meals in advance as well as preparing meals for service in the café. The work could be unpredictable and extremely busy at times. The layout of the kitchen involved frequent bending and crouching to under counter fridges to the retrieve toppings and sauces for pizzas. There were also long periods of sustained bending to clean pots and pans at the sink and occasionally when cleaning deep fat fryer
A review of the work, the tasks and the layout of the kitchen was undertaken. Changes to the layout to remove the microwaves on the worksuface and replace with a chilled counter would avoid the strain from repetitive bending and crouching to low level fridges for sauces and toppings. The microwaves were repositioned above the chilled counter top.
This was a simple but cost-effective solution together with advice on improving the physical fitness of staff working in the kitchen to ensure they could cope with the physical demands of the job.