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Expert Advice From Leading Cafe Coffee Equipment Supplier

A professional barista’s largest issue is not the customer who orders a large 1/4 shot decaf coffee with soy milk. Barista’s elbow, largely from the repetitive motion of stamping espresso and steaming milk is causing arm injuries to the baristas.

A full time barista, Christine D’Amico, was recently awarded nearly $600,000 in damages after she was diagnosed with neurological damage which needed to have a rib surgically removed due to years of steaming & lifting jugs of milk.

Christine worked for a non profit cafe at Calvary Hospital from early 2000.

She made coffee all day on weekdays and would often have to make up to 20 individual coffee orders during peak times in the morning. In an effort to steam milk for each of the coffees, Ms D’Amico needed to fill a steel jug with cold milk and steam it for up to one minute. A full jug weighed two kilograms and there was area on the counter top on which to rest the milk jug during the steaming process.

Ms D’Amico developed acute pain “like a toothache” from her right shoulder to her arm over a 2 year period. Ms D’Amico’s fingers were also swollen and her arm turned blue. No action was taken by her superiors when she reported these symptoms.

Ms D’Amico’s doctor diagnosed a potential blood clot and sent her to the Calvary Hospital where she stayed for 4 nights under observation. Ms D’Amico was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and went under the surgeons knife to remove her first right rib. After the surgery, Ms D’Amico returned to work in the cafe on light duties but eventually was forced to quit due to the ongoing pain in her arm.

The judge in the court case stated that Ms D’Amico’s employer should be congratulated for the voluntary activities and work it undertakes at the hospital. However, he stated that the not for profit nature of the business does not alter the duty of care it owed to Ms D’Amico to continually provide her with a safe system and place of work.

On the basis that her employer knew that Ms D’Amico had developed symptoms of swelling, pain, and discolouration and nothing was done, the business was found to have breached its duty of care.

Cafe Coffee Equipment – Provide The Right Tools For Your Staff

All cafe and restaurant businesses should make themselves aware of the right equipment and practices which prevent repetitive stress injuries to employees.

Ms D’Amico’s injuries may have been prevented by using the right cafe coffee equipment (as simple as replacing the large jug with a smaller jug to steam milk) or a shelf area to rest the jug or other support system under the steam nozzle.

Barista’s elbow is a common problem which you can avoid providing the best cafe coffee equipment to your staff.