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What does a server do?

The duties of servers, table wait staff, hostesses, bus-boys, and other food and hospitality personnel vary according to the workplace. The following is a general summary of duties these people have in common:

  • Greet customers.
  • Take orders and relay them to kitchen and bar staff.
  • Pay attention to customers' special menu and dietary needs or restrictions, when applicable.
  • Serve food or drinks to customers.
  • Determine method of payment, and prepare bills.
  • Clean up tables or kitchen.

What are some health and safety issues of servers?

Work environments such as restaurants, hotels and bars, where food and beverages are served, present a unique set of hazards.

The main health and safety issues for servers include:


What are some preventive measures for a server?

  • Learn safe lifting techniques.
  • Take breaks.
  • Establish good hygiene practices.
  • Wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking, or after going to the toilet, and at the beginning and end of the day.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment and apparel for the task.
  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles.
  • Maintain good housekeeping practices.
  • Learn how to deal with violent customers and other situations.
  • Keep a first-aid kit/box within easy access.

What are some good general safe work practices?

  • Practice safe lifting techniques.
  • Follow company safety rules.
  • Know how to report a hazard and near miss.
  • Follow good housekeeping procedures.
  • Work safely with chemicals according to recommended practices.
  • Select the correct personal protective equipment. Use, maintain and store it according to manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Keep a mobile phone or other alternative means to contact a designated person when working alone.

Where can I get more information?

General information is available in OSH Answers or through the CCOHS person-to-person Inquiries Service.

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Document last updated on November 3, 2014

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