Ergonomics: Produce Department

Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores

Ergonomic principles apply in the produce department.

• Keep manual food processing equipment (knives, slicers, etc.) sharp and in good repair. Equipment that is dull or is not working properly may require excess force to operate.

• Use a lightweight shorthandled plastic shovel for ice. This tool is less stressful to the body than heavy shovels. A small shovel allows the worker to move more ice in less time than a hand scoop.

shovel

• Use a portable ice case to transfer ice from the ice machine to the produce displays.

• Position scales and wrap stations so that they can be used in the best work zone. Scales that are too high or too low for a worker can cause employees to work in awkward positions. If possible, make the scale and wrap station tables adjustable so that all workers can work in comfortable postures.

• Keep boxes, melons, bags of potatoes, or other heavy items close to the body when lifting and carrying. This helps to reduce stress on the back.

adjustable table

• Keep heavy items, such as watermelons, in shipping containers and use pallet jacks to move them.

• Consider using refrigeration rather than ice to cool produce in order to eliminate the need to shovel ice.

• Place heavier or fast-moving items on shelves that are in the best work zone.

• Use carts to move heavy items; position carts alongside displays to minimize reaching and carrying.

produce cart

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
www.osha.gov

Updated on: 12/10/09
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Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores
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Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores

Grocery stores that have implemented injury prevention efforts have said they have successfully reduced work-related injuries and workers' compensation costs.
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