Throughout New York, residents spend the holiday season having fun at bars and restaurants. Many people don’t think twice about the people working in these environments. However, for these workers the holiday season can be a dangerous and painful time. With the increase in customers comes an increase in workplace injuries.

In fact, many bartenders, in particular, face a variety of serious and long-term injuries as a result of their line of work. There are many immediate risks, including serious cuts from broken glass and sharp knives. Additionally, wet and slippery floors can pose a slip and fall hazard. Burns can also occur.

Bartenders also face long term occupational hazards. Repetitive stress injuries are common. These happen as people shake and stir a variety of drinks per night. Some estimate that a bartender can prepare as many as 300 drinks in a shift, resulting in more than 5,000 rotations of a person’s wrist. Other muscular injuries can occur as a result of heavy lifting related to moving kegs and other large containers around the bar.

Many of these workers may not have the proper insurance coverage they need to pay for these injuries. Many feel they have no other option than to continue working through the pain or to pay for their medical treatment themselves. Many workers find that their employers are unsympathetic about their injuries. Additionally, many injuries go unreported and dangerous situations are not fixed.

However, New York workers in the restaurant industry should understand that they have legal rights. Worker’s compensation covers many workplace accidents and injuries. Employers in New York are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide these benefits to workers. Workers’ compensation can help pay for medical expenses, lost wages and other costs related to a workplace injury or accident.

Source: The Washington Post, “Bartenders get injured all the time – and their employers rarely provide insurance,” Clair McLafferty, Dec. 22, 2015