The possible increased risk of musculoskeletal injury to grocery check out personnel who were required to unload the customer's cart as well as carry out their regular duties was investigated. The postures of 12 grocery store cashiers using one of three checker unload workstations were compared with the postures of ten cashiers using a front facing, customer unload design. Three grocery stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area were included in the study. Awkward shoulder and trunk postures were noted among cashiers at all three stores using the checker unload designs examined. Cashiers who remove items from the cart for scanning exhibited a significantly higher percentage of awkward trunk postures and awkward shoulder postures than cashiers who remove items from a conveyor for scanning. The frequency with which cashiers were required to lift the item at some point during the scan was dramatically increased among those who also unloaded the carts. The authors suggest the following measures to reduce the problem: matching the height of the cart with the height of the checkstand; providing special grocery carts designed for over the counter use; and locating scales immediately adjacent to the scanner, or providing a combined scanner/scale.
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