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Your Environment. Your Health.

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York

New York Restaurant Worker Health & Safety Project

Funded by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH)
Saru Jayaraman

Project Description:

The primary purpose of this project is to empower immigrant restaurant workers in New York City to have greater control over their occupational safety and health and to work with employers in the industry to understand the importance of these workers' occupational safety and health to their success and the success of the City's industry. This goal is being achieved through a collaborative process that enhances the understanding of job hazards, injuries and illness in the restaurant industry; develops and tests model practices in ergonomics and work organization in a new restaurant; creates new leadership among restaurant workers; and conducts an annual Restaurant Industry Summit and other activities to promote public dialogue and to stimulate real policy options for change in the industry.

Project Aims

  1. To create a sustainable Restaurant Safety & Health Task Force comprised of restaurant workers, employers, and the four partnering institutions to design and oversee the project research and intervention activities and to promote policy recommendations that arise from the project research and intervention activities;
  2. To understand and describe, through the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, the nature, extent, constraints and context of work-related hazards, injuries and illnesses among restaurant workers, with a special emphasis on immigrant workers;
  3. To design and test a set of improved ergonomic and work organizational conditions in a model cooperatively owned restaurant;
  4. To develop a culturally and linguistically appropriate educational program 'classes and curriculum' to enhance the ability of restaurant workers to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses;
  5. To conduct a set of complementary activities, including worker educational programs, an employer technical assistance service, a Restaurant Industry Summit, and industry-specific health care and model workplace practice guidelines, which will arise as result of the knowledge and experience gained in the course of the proposed project.


  • Dr. Steve Markowitz
    Queens College Center for the Biology of Natural Systems
  • Ana Maria Archila
    Executive Director
    Latin American Integration Center
  • Dr. Alfred Astua
    Elmhurst Hospital

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