Ergonomic Tips for Retail Workers
Posted by Cathy B. on April 11, 2016 in Merchant Focus

 Adjustments for posture and motion efficiency can make your workplace safer and more comfortable for your employees, which is important to reduce workplace risks and injuries. Retail front end tasks, such as checking out and bagging up purchased items can require employees to stand for long periods of time, repetitively reach and handle objects that could be heavy or awkward. This is an area where simple ergonomic fixes can make a big difference in creating a safe, comfortable working environment for employees.


Here are some ergonomic tips for the checkout area:


  • If possible, powered conveyors should be used and set up close to cashiers to reduce leaning and reaching, which can cause strains and overall fatigue.
  • Provide an area where cashiers can raise a foot. Raised foot rests allow cashiers to alternate their feet, which will help to reduce fatigue.
  • Provide anti-fatigue mats that cashiers can stand on to reduce fatigue in their legs and feet.
  • Consider providing stools with sit/stand or lumbar supports that cashiers can lean against to help support their backs and reduce the fatigue in their legs.
  • Provide adjustable keyboards and register displays. Position scanners and conveyors level so items can be slid across instead of lifted over. If your store sells larger items that could be difficult to handle, especially in a confined checkout area, providing scan cards or scan guns can eliminate the risk of injury to your employees and possibly customers who might try to lift these types of items out of their cart.
  • Bag stands should also be adjustable for ease of packing the bags. Extended reaching should be avoided
  • If helping a customer to their car, a cart should be used to carry the bags. Try to limit lifting. If employees need to lift something awkward, large, or heavy, a two-person lift should always be considered.
  • Use a powered vehicle (e.g., Tug) to retrieve carts from the parking lot or cart corrals. Manually maneuvering carts can cause sprains, strains, back and shoulder injuries, and other types of injuries.


Review job tasks and you may discover other simple solutions that can help your employees perform their jobs in a safer way. Follow up to make sure that employees are using the adjusted postures and motions suggested and you can help them build safe habits. Preventing injuries with straightforward solutions like these can save you time and money.


Additional information and tips can be found on the OSHA website.

Cathy B.
Cathy B. started at ACUITY in the fall of 2015, has a bachelor’s degree in safety engineering, and brings over 32 years of safety experience, including 5 years in loss control. She spent most of her career in manufacturing environments, but also has experience in retail, construction, and trucking fleet safety. She has produced numerous insurance safety videos, brochures, and has written articles for publications. She is currently helping ACUITY enhance their printed materials to better educate our insureds. She was also an EMT for 28 years and worked for full-time and volunteer fire departments. In her free time, Cathy likes to paint stained-glass projects.

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