Author(s): Ryan GA
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Abstract The Victorian Branch of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association became concerned in 1985 by the large number of cases of musculo-skeletal symptoms being reported by members working in food and grocery supermarkets. With the support of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Commission a survey was carried out which was aimed at determining the prevalence of such symptoms, and identifying associated factors. A questionnaire designed to establish the presence of musculo-skeletal symptoms was administered to all employees of seven supermarkets ranging in size from 15 to 171 employees, with a response rate of 73\%. The staff of supermarkets were predominantly young, female and transient. One-third reported regular symptoms in some part of their body. Prevalence rates were calculated for body area and department. The checkout department had the highest rates for almost all body areas. The lower back, lower limbs and feet were the body areas with the highest rates. Postures and activities of a sample of job categories in each department were sampled at 10 s intervals for periods of 30 min for a total of 1000 observations for each department. A positive and significant correlation was found between proportion of time spent standing and symptoms in the lower limb and foot, especially in the checkout department where 90\% of the time was spent standing in one place. It was concluded that there was an excess of symptoms appearing in checkout operators, and therefore, the operating methods of the checkout department warrant revision.
This article was published in Ergonomics
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics