Dangerous dining: health and safety in the New York City restaurant industry.

Jayaraman, Saru, Jonathan Dropkin, Sekou Siby, Laine Romero Alston, and Steven Markowitz.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 53, no. 12 (2011): 1418-1424.


We characterized the health and safety conditions of New York City restaurant workers, a population comprising largely of immigrants and people of color.

Methods:  We conducted an anonymous questionnaire survey of 502 New York City restaurant workers, addressing working conditions, benefits, demographic factors, psychosocial exposures, and medical symptoms and conditions.

Results: Restaurant workers reported fast-paced, repetitive, and physically demanding jobs that sometimes involve chemical exposures. Despite their youth, they experience a high prevalence of musculoskeletal and traumatic injuries. Few receive job benefits despite significant symptoms. Job-related injuries are positively associated with practices that pose a danger to consumers.

Conclusions: New York City restaurant workers have stressful jobs, experience significant injury, and illness but receive few job benefits. A healthier work organization and greater access to benefits for restaurant workers would improve their health and public health.

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