Ergonomics: Safety in the Meat and Deli Departments

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

Many of these ergonomic solutions may also be useful for the seafood and cheese departments.

• Whenever possible, work from the long side of trays to reduce reaches and the resultant high stresses on the back.

• Avoid working with the hands/wrists held in a bent or twisted position.

• Keep knives sharp. Workers should be trained in the best knife sharpening methods. Knife sharpening systems should be used regularly, and steels and mousetrap sharpeners should be used to keep knives sharp throughout the shift.

• Try different knives to see if they are more comfortable to use. Some designs work well for specific cutting, trimming, or portioning tasks and should be considered "special purpose" tools.


• Whenever possible, incorporate adjustable work surfaces into the department. Examples include cutting tables, scales and deli slicers.


• Look for cases and counters that allow workers to serve customers without excessive reaches.


• Use anti-fatigue mats, footrests, and sit/stand stools where workers are required to stand for long periods of time.

• Look for grinders that do not force the worker to bend over to catch meat or to reach too high to dump meat into the grinder.

meat grinder

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

Updated on: 09/07/12
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Ergonomics: Produce Department
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Ergonomics: Produce Department

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