Grocery shopping can be a worthwhile activity. It can even be fun and therapeutic, especially when you don’t have to shove your way past other customers just to get your chosen brand of cereal or laundry detergent.

What we don’t know, though, is that it takes a lot of work to make the products we need presentable on shelves and counters in grocery stores. In fact, just in handling and carrying these products, workers are at risk of meeting injuries or developing different illnesses.

If you’re an employee working in a grocery store or warehouse, you may be aware that you’re at risk of developing anything from muscle strains and disc injuries to tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. To save yourself from these hazards, here are some guidelines in ergonomics that you should follow:

  • Work with suppliers so you can get packages in smaller, lighter containers. This way, you don’t have to carry loads that weigh as much as 100 pounds.
  • When you really have to work with heavy items, improve access to storage racks and transport devices so that workers don’t have to bend at the waist or pull elbows away from their body while reaching or twisting.
  • Work with suppliers to make sure containers like boxes, buckets and bags are sturdy and won’t accidentally break, rip or pull apart while workers are lifting them.
  • When loading pallets, place lighter products at the center and heavier ones on the outer edges to ensure easier access and lifting of the heavier items.
  • Request for lighter plastic pallets from suppliers.
  • Request suppliers to place products in stable boxes with hand hold cut-outs or handles so that workers don’t get their hands and shoulders strained from carrying/handling packages without such handles.
  • Encourage suppliers to provide slip sheets in between layers of plastic packages. This reduces the stress on the hands, arms, shoulders, and back when employees try not to slide the product.
  • Use an automatic plastic wrapping machine with the palletized product sitting on a turntable. This reduces the possibility of employees bending at the waist to wrap the pallet. When you really have to manually wrap pallets, use light rolls and make sure you use handles to reduce the risk of cuts.
  • Make sure you use ergonomically correct razor knives when cutting boxes open. These knives should be just be just the right size for worker’s hands, require less wrist bending and have substantial handles that require less finger force for control.

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