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The barista injuries.

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  • The barista injuries.

    I was pondering over this issue at work today and some how cant drop the thought from my mind. RSI, Bone spurs, elbow pain (from dosing from a lifted elbow and shoulder method).. But some of them seem really easy to avoid? Right? .. Im not sure and Im still young, I dont want to find myself 30 years from now suffering pain in my joints because I didnt ponder it at one point.

    However I did have a comment on bone spurs developing in some baristas.. A lack of calcium can lead to a higher risk of Osteophytes, right? But if we drink coffee all day, with milk.. shouldnt we be the ones least at risk? Haha. Bit of a rudimentary understanding about that though. ;D

  • #2
    Re: The barista injuries.

    Good thoughts Robstar,

    as is often the case there is usually a number of factors involved in those type of things, and while work may be contributing factor, there also seems to be other personal contributing factors in many cases.
    How come some people can seemingly be productive with very few physical problems in similar work circumstances to others who have many problems?
    I suggest the old be happy thing can have a lot to do with it....
    If you choose to enjoy your life, and it helps if you can do something you enjoy, there should be less difficulty with physical problems.
    However there is of course good reason to make your workplace as comfortable as possible from an ergonomic point of view, so if it starts to become uncomfortable to do some regular task, redesign of the task or workplace is usually the best first course of action.

    As far as cows milk is concerned, there are some doubts about how good it really is, after all it was originally meant for calves, who are supposed to grow at a rate far in excess of human growth. It may also be possible that the calcium in cows milk isnt that well absorbed in some people, and bone density issues also are affected by regular load bearing physical activity, or lack of. There are some other cultures around the world where cows milk is not consumed at all, and it is not uncommon to hear of people who cant properly digest cows milk, or some component of it.
    Despite all this I will concede I still like my lattes and cappas.



    • #3
      Re: The barista injuries.

      Interesting that you should post this today. I just fired up my espresso machine yesterday with the arrival of the cooler fall weather (Opposite side of the planet from yall and all that.) and discovered that I can no longer do my usual tamp due to joint issues in my hands. The joints have deteriorated so much over the last few months I had to break down and get an auto tamper today.

      Not an expense I had planned on, but one that was none the less necessary.

      Take care of your joints. They will wear out much faster than you think!

      Java "Speaking from experience!" phile
      Toys! I must have new toys!!!


      • #4
        Re: The barista injuries.

        I have a friend at work who now has had serious wrist problems caused by tamping with a grinder tamp. I think it was something along the lines of RSI, basically just excruciating pain whenever lifting anything of even moderate weight, not fun! She ended up having her wrist strapped up for 3 months but still it comes back every so often.

        Worst thing is I started to notice a similar thing happening to me, so I started tamping extremely lightly to see if it made a difference, go figure it did! I stopped getting random pains in my wrist and I havent turned back since.

        I guess it pays to be careful!


        • #5
          Re: The barista injuries.

          Or use correct technique...

          I think that really, a lot of injuries come from incorrect techniques and the repetitive use of them.

          Having been working as a full time barista now for four years, Im yet to experience any RSI issues. Mind you, Im also not churning out five hundred coffees in a day either and am varying my workplace routine.

          There may also be something in that too...


          • #6
            Re: The barista injuries.

            I have noticed some shoulder pain in the past...

            Im thinking it was due to the hight of the machine at the time..reaching across my body to knock spent pucks and for dosing.

            Im still reaching across my body to knock out spent pucks but now i am at a place with a lower machine hight and an auto dosing grinder so im not wacking(?) away at a dosing unit anymore. Problems solved.

            Now i only suffer a little bit of back pain due to having to bend down so far(im 6.4") in the sink whilst doing dishes.

            But YES! be very aware of the ergonomics of your workplace set up as i often had an ouchie shoulder on my days off which was not cool


            • #7
              Re: The barista injuries.

              With RSI in mind, and some other injuries that form over time, Ive been doing everything I can to assure the best environment for a barista with the construction of my new coffee shop.

              Robur-e; perfectly leveled benches for the machines, based on the height of an average person; anti-fatigue mats; knockbox cut-outs directly in-front of grinders in the bench; steam floor pedals for the synessos; in-house training for proper technique.

              This is a place Ill be at for the next 1000 years, so I have to keep the ergonomics a consideration for myself and others.


              • #8
                Re: The barista injuries.

                Foot steam pedals are great!
                It saves that action of wrapping your wrist around the steam knob and having to turn it 2 or 3 times for every jug....which can be up to 200 - 300 times in a day...times that by the 2 or 3 turns and your looking at spinning it up to a thousand times in 1 day! THEN double that for turning it off!!!

                The only problem i had was getting the hand, foot, eye co ordination.. i also managed to steam in between my fingers once whilst cleaning the tip...stepped on it by accident!

                Aaaahhhhhh...good times had by all!


                • #9
                  Re: The barista injuries.

                  Well on a Synesso, its more about comfort then anything for the steam pedals, being able to have both hands free (holding a pitcher and grabbing a cup), with that added touch of time management. but even then, the levers on the sides do wonders for people with sore wrists.

                  Ouch at the steaming your fingertips, Ill have to be conscious of that! ;D

                  Although on a LM linear.. hell yes. Although lately whenever I use a linear, I just flick the knob, instead of turning it properly. That useless redundant bit of movement whenever you close and open the steam wand, seems like enough movement to flick it on and flick it closed with a touch of the fingertips.


                  • #10
                    Re: The barista injuries.

                    Yeah i know what you mean about the flicking... from time to time though after my breaks or in the morning the floor staff make coffee and we have a girl that insists on turning the full 15(give or take) rotations to the off position. Annoying!

                    We also have a guy that insists on using multiple cloths around the machine but always has a bit of a mess when he gets busy? We call him SCATMAN!!! hahahaaha good old scatty!

                    The poor old Mirage gets ist fair share of abusers on it when im not around unfortunately