Dining Services


Dining services across campus provide many meals a day, To meet this demand hundreds of employees work in kitchens, serving areas and the supply chain; these involvements pose exposures to a variety of potential hazards. The obvious of which include wet or slippery floors, knives and other sharp objects, heat and open flames, temperature extremes, and the handling of heavy materials and repetitive motions.

This section provides the dining services staff with information about how to work safely and to reduce the risk of ergonomic injury.


Material handling: [Click here for image]

  • Before lifting test the load to determine if it is light enough to lift,
  • Plan your route before lifting and carrying the load,
  • Instead of carrying one heavy load, separate it into smaller, lighter packages and make multiple trips, use a cart or trolley, or ask a co-worker for help,
  • Place or store heavy items at mid-body height to make retrieval easier,
  • Do not lift objects that are slippery, too hot, or unevenly balanced,
  • Make sure you can fit through narrow spaces and that your fingers are out of the way when you set the object down.

Lifting, Lowering and Carrying Loads: [Click here for image]

  • Keep your arms and the load as close to your body as possible
  • Bend with your knees and let your legs and hips do most of the work,
  • Do not arch your back,
  • Use small steps when walking with a heavy load,
  • Do not use fast or jerky movements when lifting, especially when lifting heavy objects.

Pushing and Pulling: [Click here for image]

  • Always use two hands when pushing or pulling, Do not pull with one arm extended behind your body,
  • Ensure that good visibility is possible without awkward motions such as twisting or stretching, If your vision is b locked when pushing a cart from the back, move to the front corner of the cart to push,
  • Keep your upper arms against your rib cage with your elbows in, Keep your hands at or slightly above waist level, Keep your feet shoulder width apart,
  • Bend your knees slightly and move the load by shifting your weight, For example, with one leg in front of the other, bend your knees and move the load by shifting your shifting your weight from your back leg to your front leg.

Food preparation: [Click here for image]

  • Provide knives with various handle sizes for larger and smaller hands, Handles with larger centers and slimmer ends make gripping more comfortable while chopping and cutting,
  • Ergonomic knives with angles handles help keep the wrists in a neutral posture for specific cutting tasks, However, such knives may be impractical for cutting tasks that require irregular movements,
  • Ensure that workers have appropriate knives to choose from and that they use the appropriate knife for the task, The steel in the blade should be easy to sharpen and should be regularly maintained to ensure that cutting takes minimal force and repetition,
  • Meat slicing machines can eliminate the need to manually cut meats, Ensure that machines are placed at the correct height to minimize awkward postures of the wrists and shoulders, Also ensure that workers follow appropriate meat slicing safety procedures, including using guards and proper cleaning techniques,

Cooking: [Click here for image]

  • Soup kettles with extended handles make it easier to tip the kettle when pouring soup into smaller containers and also help keep the back more upright,
  • Use long handles whisks for two- handed stirring and short-handles whisks for one-handed stirring,
  • Handles with soft rubber-like surfaces and hard inner cores allow an optimal grip if the handle is wet or greasy, Handles with rounded edges and large diameters promote power grips rather than pinch grips,
  • Whenever possible, use oven racks between waist and elbow height to minimize awkward posture.

Cleaning and washing: [Click here for image]

  • Use wheeled carts whenever possible to reduce the need for workers to carry bins loaded with dishes,
  • Bend your knees to reach for low trays, dish racks, or dish bins,
  • When lifting and carrying trays, dish racks, or dish bins, keep them as close to your body as possible,
  • Do not place full dish racks into soak sinks because lifting and lowering racks into the sinks may strain the low back and shoulders,
  • Do not remove items that have any amount of water in them from soak sinks because the water will increase their weight substantially,
  • Lower rinse nozzles to waist level to reduce your reach and use a power grip rather than a pinch grip,
  • When rinsing dishes, spray directly in front of your body to prevent awkward shoulder posture.

General Recommendations: [Click here for image]

  • Use anti-fatigue matting with beveled edges, This will help alleviate some of the stress associated with standing in one position for extended periods,
  • Use footstools or foot rails to shift body weight and reduce stress on the low back and legs of workers who stand for long periods,
  • Rotate workers through as many positions as possible to allow for variations in body use and postures, This will help reduce the strain on any one area of the body.