Nutrition and pain: cafeteria workers' job in a public school in Piracicaba, Brazil - beyond bread and milk

The study of activity of the work among cafeteria employees in Public School Sector was motivated by high incidence of RSI/WRMD (repetitive strain injury/work related musculoskeletal disorder) in this profession. After observing preparation and distribution of meals in a public school in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, we identified organizational and RSI/WRMD risk factors and proposed transformational measures. The research was conducted from March 2007 to March 2008 according to Work Ergonomic Analysis and its procedures: general observation, filming, systematic observation and recording of workers' verbalizations on their jobs. The results showed an intesification of work due to quantitative and qualitative changes introduced in the school menus in Brazil, without an equivalent increase in staff or improvement of operational conditions. Our main recommendations were: partial mechanization of activities concerning cleansing of utensils; involvement of workers in the development of a new menu, which would take into account the staff's real workload; and monthly and biannual meetings as moments for workers' participation in their job decision making process. We concluded that understanding and overcoming school cafeteria workers' job deficiencies, as well as eliminating risks to their health are vital strategies to reach the objectives of the widespread national public policy on school meals.

school cafeteria worker; public school sector; RSI; Ergonomic Work Analysis

Fundação Jorge Duprat Figueiredo de Segurança e Medicina do Trabalho - FUNDACENTRO Rua Capote Valente, 710 , 05409 002 São Paulo/SP Brasil, Tel: (55 11) 3066-6076 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil