The ergonomic challenge of repetitive motion with varying ergonomic stresses: Characterizing supermarket checking work

Philip Harber, Donald Bloswick, Laura Peña, Joh Beck, Jason Lee, Dan Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Many jobs leading to a risk of cumulative trauma do not have highly stereotyped motions. This study developed and employed a novel method of ergonomie characterization to describe quantitatively the actions associated with grocery checking. Fifty workers were videotaped for three 15-minute segments each. Eight object types were selected to represent the variety of items in a supermarket. Nine types of motion were coded for each of the eight objects for 10 replications for each subject. The motions coded were: grip type (power versus pinch), wrist flexion, wrist extension, radial deviation, ulnar deviation, supination, pronation, body (lumbar) flexion, and drag versus lift. The results were then weighted according to relative frequency of the object type. In this manner, an ergonomie risk index can be assigned to each specific object type. This method permits identification of objects presenting the greatest risk. It also allows specificity of preventive interventions (object redesign, work practice change) as well as providing a quantitative measure to evaluate work station redesign. Furthermore, it has the potential of quantitatively describing the risk of each individual worker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-528
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this