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The service industry is a high-pressure environment. The staff of restaurants and bars must anticipate customers’ wants and provide them with an evening worth their money. Blood sugars run low; tempers run high. At most places, the staff is working at top speed in cramped spaces. Throw in knives, fire, glassware, and stairs, and a restaurant turns into a veritable minefield. Here are some stories from the front lines, where employees have had to work through pain or, worse, had their nights ruined with a trip to the hospital.
Possible injuries: Falling off ladders, cuts from broken glasses
Injury report: Justin, who now works at a D.C. restaurant that, like his last name, he’d rather not state, started his career as a busboy in Florida. One night he was standing on a stepstool, stocking margarita glasses on a high shelf, when one of them fell. He went to grab it, but it smashed on the ledge.
“A big shard cut me on the forearm, on the soft side of the forearm,” Justin says. “I had never seen blood like that.” A regular customer, who was a doctor, was walking by and took a look at the wound. “He said I could get a stitch or two, but it probably wasn’t worth it. I finished my shift.” Justin still has a scar, which he considers a battle wound. After it happened, he thought, “Now I’m seasoned.”