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Grocery Store Checkstands. Ergonomics Design Guidelines to prevent WMSDs. Credits . The technical contents of this slide show are mainly based upon the publication “Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores” OSHA publication 3192-05N 2004. You may click here to download a copy of this publication.

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grocery store checkstands

Grocery Store Checkstands

Ergonomics Design Guidelines to prevent WMSDs


The technical contents of this slide show are mainly based upon the publication “Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores” OSHA publication 3192-05N 2004.

You may click here to download a copy of this publication

what you will learn in this slideshow
What you will learn in this slideshow:

WMSDs hazardous exposures

when checking out groceries

How to identify grocery store check stand design problems using a specific checklist

Ergonomics guidelines for the design of a check stand

The neutral posture at a check stand

Best body zones in which to work

Sit or stand at a check stand?

problems at grocery checkout
Problems at grocery checkout
  • Lifting heavy packages, bags, etc.
  • Repetitive movements of the neck, shoulder, arms, hands.
  • Awkward and static postures like standing without walking, back bending, squatting, etc.
  • Forceful Gripping
wmsd hazardous exposures
WMSD hazardous exposures

Lifting above the shoulders, below the knees or at arms length

wmsd hazardous exposures1
WMSD hazardous exposures

Repetitive motions with the neck, shoulder and arm

wmsd hazardous exposures2
WMSD hazardous exposures

Neck and back bending

wmsd hazardous exposures3
WMSD hazardous exposures

Forceful gripping; specially when handling heavy items as pet-food bags, 24 packs of sodas.

the checklist
The Checklist

This checklist developed by OSHA, provides a practical guide for the evaluation of a check stand design

Click on this image to download a copy

cashiering checklist
Cashiering checklist

Are items within easy reach?

Are keyboards adjustable?

Can the cashier work with items at about elbow height?

cashiering checklist1
Cashiering checklist

Can the display be read without twisting?

Are all edges rounded so the cashier does not come into contact with sharp edges?

cashiering checklist2
Cashiering checklist

Are objects easily scanned for the first time?

Are objects scanned without twisting hand motions?

Can cashiers scan heavy/bulky/awkward items without lifting them?

cashiering checklist3
Cashiering checklist

Are the scale, conveyor, and horizontal scanner plates all at the same height?

Is the scanner plate clean and unscratched?

cashiering checklist4
Cashiering checklist

Does the cashier have an anti-fatigue mat and/or foot rest?

Can the cashier recline or semi-seat on any surface of the checkstand?

bagging and carry out checklist
Bagging and carry out checklist

Can the bagger adjust the height of the bag stand?

Are all edges rounded so that the bagger does not come into contact with sharp or hard edges?

bagging and carry out checklist1
Bagging and carry out checklist

Do bags have handles?

bagging and carry out checklist2
Bagging and carry out checklist

Can the bagger put bags into carts without leaning over the check stand or twisting the back?

sit or stand at a check stand
Sit or stand at a check stand?

“the ideal ergonomic solution would be to offer the cashier the possibility of changing between sitting and standing[…] as a means of reducing foot, leg and lower back pain.”

(Lannersten & Harms-Ringdhal, 1990; Wells, 1993)

basic elements of a check stand design
Basic elements of a check stand design


cash drawer


produce scales

Bagging platform

Feeder belt


design guidelines
Design guidelines

The following section provides you with the design guidelines to an easy-to-use, safer checkstand.

The more guidelines you can implement at your store, the better for your employees and business.

design guideline
Design guideline

Use a powered in-feed conveyor to bring items to the cashiers best work zone.

Use a “sweeper” to move items on the conveyor within the checker’s reach.

These practices may reduce leaning and reaching.

design guideline1
Design guideline

Locate commonly used items such as the cash drawer and the printer within easy horizontal reach.

design guideline2
Design guideline

Place in-feed and take-away conveyor belts as close as possible to the cashier to minimize reaching.

design guideline3
Design guideline

Consider using checkstands designed with an adjustable sit/stand or lumbar support against which cashier can lean.

design guideline4
Design guideline

Remove, round-off or pad sharp or hard edges with which the cashier may come into contact.

design guideline5
Design guideline

Provide adequate toe space (at least 4 inches) at the bottom of the workstation. Toe space allows cashiers to move closer to the checkstand, reducing reaching postures.

design guideline6
Design guideline

Use footrests and anti-fatigue mats in areas where workers stand for long periods. Standing on anti-fatigue mats, as compared to bare floors provides a noticeable improvement in comfort.

design guideline7
Design guideline

Place the conveyor belt electronic eye close to the scanner, but allow sufficient area between the eye and the scanner to orient items and to ensure the belt does not push items into the scanning window.

design guideline8
Design guideline

Preferred work zone

Perform work within the preferred (green) work zone

design guideline9
Design guideline

Consider using keyboards to enter the quantity of identical products rather than scanning each individual item.

design guideline10
Design guideline

Use keyboard to enter code if item fails to scan after second attempt.

design guideline11
Design guideline

Place keyboards on supports that adjust in height, horizontal distance and tilt to keep work within the preferred zone.

design guideline12
Design guideline

Use front facing checkstands to reduce twisting motions and extended reaches to the side.

design guideline13
Design guideline

Adjust the checkstand height to match the cashier’s waist height, or use a platform.

design guideline14
Design guideline

Place the cash register displays at or slightly below eye level.

design guideline15
Design guideline

Use scan cards or scan guns for large or bulky items to eliminate the need to handle them.

design guideline16
Design guideline

Set scanners and conveyors at the same height so that cashiers can slide items across rather than lift them.

design guideline17
Design guideline

Establish a regular maintenance schedule for scanners; clean dirty plates and replace scratched ones.

design guideline18
Design guideline

Use combined scales/scanners.

design guideline19
Design guideline

Provide an adjustable-height bag stand. In bagging areas, the tops of plastic bags should be just below the conveyor height.

design guideline20
Design guideline

To avoid extended reaches when loading bags into carts, move carts closer to the employee.

design guideline21
Design guideline

Use bags with handles. Handles make the bags easier and less stressful to carry.

design guideline22
Design guideline

Use carts to carry bags and groceries outside the store.

design guideline23
Design guideline

Consider using powered-tugs when retrieving carts from the parking area. Powered tugs facilitate moving more carts with more efficiency and less effort.

if none or few ergonomic guidelines are implemented checkstand employees may suffer from
If none or few ergonomic guidelines are implemented, checkstand employees may suffer from…
  • Back strains/sprains
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Elbow injuries
  • Forearm and wrist injuries
  • Nerve damage

OSHA Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores

David Beardmore (1998) "The Identification & Control of Musculoskeletal Risks To Supermarket Checkout Workers“

Grocery Stand Design

Ideas to reduce hazardous exposures can be found at the Ergonomics Ideas Bank

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