Supermarket design and ergonomics 

The Robens Institute has worked with many high street supermarkets to improve ergonomics, productivity and health.  Checkout design, home deliveries, shelf-stacking and new technology have all been studied and advice given. Below is an example of the research we have undertaken on the health of supermarket staff. 

Supermarket workers health: 

This research was undertaken to evaluate health and safety problems in supermarkets, identify risk factors, and develop intervention strategies. The study population included all workers except managers and cashiers: assistant cashiers, bakers, produce clerks, grocery clerks, delicatessen clerks, butchers, bakery wrappers, and fish mongers. Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 63% of all reported occupational injuries, and almost half of the population had suffered such injuries in the seven days preceding the study. Exposure to risk factors was estimated, taking into account each employee's time budget (hours per week). Statistically significant associations were observed between some risk factors and musculoskeletal problems. Task analysis indicated that the most important determinants of risk factors were architecture, furniture, workplace layout and organizational factors. The pattern of results, including an analysis of the company's organization and business position (obtained through semi-open interviews), suggests that integrating ergonomics considerations into the planning of supermarket renovation or design is the most promising intervention strategy.

Full reference:  

Forcier L, Lapointe C, Lortie M, Buckle P, Kuorinka I, Lemaire J, Beaugrand S  (2008) Supermarket workers: Their work and their health, particularly their self-reported musculoskeletal problems and compensable injuries. Work-A Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation 30, 493-510