Restaurant Worker Suffers Serious Injuries After Unsafe Handling of Heavy Materials

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on January 25, 2018

Material Handling Expert WitnessThis case involves an individual who fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a serious hip injury. At the time of the incident in question, the individual was using a hand truck to transport a large load of baking flower. At one point, the worker was required to transport the materials up a short flight of stairs in the basement of the restaurant where he worked. When he was halfway up the stairs he suddenly lost control of the load and fell, suffering a hip fracture in the process.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your material handling experience, specifically in the food service industry.
  • 2. What is the proper way to transport goods, around stairs?

Expert Witness Response E-035811

As the son of an Executive Chef, I grew up in the restaurant industry starting in the back of the house with purchasing, receiving, inventory and storeroom management. Over the years, I have opened and operated more than seventy restaurants, nine hotels and six country clubs. This includes the setting up of food and beverage storerooms, maintaining par stocks, issue & requisition, vendor selection, and management. It has been my experience as both an operator and consultant that full-line distributors will deliver to the area where goods are stored. Without knowing more about the specifics circumstance related to this matter I am not sure why the Plaintiff was using a hand truck to take the flower up the stairs. There are no industry standards related to the movement of food products from one location to another. There are general guidelines related to the lifting of heavy objects and a number of weights required to lift for certain positions. It does seem that the restaurant has some responsibility to ensure that the employee has been taught how to move heavy boxes/sacks of potatoes from one location to another.

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