Ergonomics: Checkout, Bagging, Carry Out

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

Front End: Checkout, Bagging and Carryout

Ergonomic principles for safely working at the grocery store checkout.

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

• 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 field.


• Perform work within the preferred work zone.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Use combined scales/scanners.

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


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

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

• Use carts to carry bags and groceries outside the store.

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

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

Updated on: 12/10/09
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