Get to Know Our Industry: Food & Beverage Servers

Get to Know Our Industry: Food & Beverage Servers

At the SHSA we represent such varied industries under the heading “service and hospitality,” so we wanted to take the time to get to know some of the occupations in a little more detail.

Here is what you should know about Food & Beverage Servers, and of course, the health and safety issues and prevention measures associated with that occupation.


  • Greet customers
  • Take and relay food and beverage orders
  • Serve food and beverages to guests
  • Check on guest satisfaction
  • Pay attention to customers’ special menu and dietary needs or restrictions, when applicable
  • Handle complaints and concerns of customers
  • Provide food and beverage product knowledge
  • Use proper serving techniques
  • Practice responsible alcohol service
  • Clean up tables and restaurant area
  • Cash out and reconcile cash with total sales

The main health and safety issues for servers include:

  • Bullying or harassment
  • Musculoskeletal injuries from standing for long hours, working in awkward positions, or performing repetitive manual tasks
  • Lifting or carrying heavy trays or other objects
  • Noise
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Dealing with difficult or potentially violent customers
  • Long hours of work overextended work days
  • Working alone, including working alone with money
  • Cuts from handling broken glassware
  • Exposure to cleaning products and other chemicals

In addition to these risks, many new and young workers get their start in the restaurant industry, some in the server position.  This means that employers have an important obligation to train thoroughly and often.  This training must be site-specific and give specific examples of hazards in the job.  It also must include the worker “showing what they know” through the observation of them completing their duties properly, and safely.

For a full overview of the hazards and prevention measures for a food and beverage server, check out the Virtual Hotel – a partnership between the AHQ, AHSA, & the SHSA.


As with all things safety, prevention is key.  How can we keep food and beverage servers safe?

  • Training for dealing with difficult customers, provide support, and ensure a harassment policy and procedure is in place and enforced
  • Take breaks, stretch, and wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (such as supportive footwear)
  • Practice safe lifting techniques and do not lift more than you are able
  • Follow all safety rules
  • Maintain good housekeeping practices
    • Clean up spills right away to reduce slips, trips, and falls
    • Clean up all broken glass immediately, per safe procedure
  • Ensure hazards and all incidents are immediately reported
  • Training on the use of chemicals, including WHMIS
  • Recognition for positive safety habits and good work performance


For more information on food and beverage servers, visit:

CCOHS: Food & Beverage Servers

go2HR: Food and Beverage Server

For additional safety information, visit:

WorkSafe BC: Food & Beverage Services

WSPS: Keeping Young and New Restaurant Workers Safe

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