The hospitality industry cannot be complete without considering serving people good meals, and you can’t have well-prepared meals without the kitchen and persons who work in them.
Chefs and other kitchen staff play a key role in restaurants and every other place where food is served. They spend several hours preparing meals and keeping the workplace clean, which keeps them standing in uncomfortable positions for many hours.
An average worker in the kitchen spends most of their shift standing and working against their natural circadian rhythms, so they are bound to experience fatigue. The concept of shift work in the kitchen is also an issue as kitchen staff tend to experience psychological and physiological issues like disturbed sleep patterns and stress.
Generally, prolonged standing jobs lead to more occupational injuries and discomfort. A study showed that about 50% of healthy kitchen staff complained of lower back discomfort after standing continuously for two hours. Another study found that prolonged standing causes foot pain at the end of a day’s job.
Importance of maintaining a good working posture
A good posture enhances your musculoskeletal health because when you align your spine correctly, it helps your bone, muscle and ligament stacking. This ensures a better balance and helps you function properly during your normal daily activities like lifting, standing for an extended period, walking and running.
However, a bad posture strains your joints and muscles, which causes pain and may damage your whole body. When your head doesn’t align properly with your pelvis, your muscles will work harder to try and re-centre your head over your pelvis. With your muscles working harder, they get fatigued faster, resulting in neck and back pain.
What causes poor posture and neck strain?
One of the common causes of neck strain resulting from poor posture for chefs and other kitchen staff is the aprons with loops or neck straps that they pull over their heads.
This is due to the apron’s weight and constant pulling of the apron while standing against a benchtop. The pulling causes a neck sprain as it pulls the neck forward. The neck, in turn, pulls on the muscles that support the spine, which may lead to headaches and neck tension.
What is the solution to this problem?
Wearing a cross back strap apron with separate adjustable straps can help prevent neck strain. The apron’s cross back straps come up from the bib, over your shoulders, then cross over to spread the apron weight down your back to a secure spot on the waist of the apron. Wearing a cross back strap apron is similar to wearing a comfortable backpack instead of a heavy chain around your neck.
Different types of cross back strap aprons are available, but those available at Cream Collection have a unique design that makes the straps stay on your shoulders. A secure apron helps correct your posture and hold you back in perfect alignment.
As a chef, barista, waiter or waitress wearing a suitable apron is essential since you maintain upright postures for long, so consider the following when getting an apron:
- Non-rigid so it doesn’t force your body to remain in a position that causes discomfort or pain.
- Straps that do not feed through eyelets but have separate and adjustable waist straps - This ensures that the apron doesn’t ride up while you carry out your tasks.
Some people may prefer neck strap aprons because it is easy to slip them over your head, but when you wear a cross-back apron, it helps your posture as there is one less thing to worry about as you stand for a prolonged period in the kitchen. With a cross back strap apron, you will likely not experience neck pain again.