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Biomechanical evaluation of supermarket cashiers before and after a redesign of the checkout counter

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An experiment was carried out on supermarket cashiers to evaluate the time, kinematic and electromyographic changes, in both sitting and standing positions, following the redesign of a checkout counter. The novelty of the prototype checkout counter is a disk wheel placed in the bagging area, which is designed to avoid the cashier having to manually push products along the bagging area. The kinematic evaluation was based on the upper limb and trunk range of motions (RoM). The electromyographic parameters assessed were mean and maximum muscular activations. Three factors were taken into account: design (before and after redesign), posture (standing or sitting) and bagging area (anterior or posterior). The results show that the RoM values are lowest after the intervention and in the standing position. Mean and maximum muscular activation patterns are similar. Differences related to the bagging area in which the goods were released also emerged. The disk wheel represents a valid aid for reducing biomechanical overload in cashiers; the standing position is biomechanically more advantageous.

Practitioner Summary: EMG and optoelectronic motion analysis systems are useful for the quantitative assessment of the effects of the redesign of the workplace biomechanical risk. Our results suggest that a disk wheel positioned in the bagging area reduces the biomechanical risk for cashiers and increases time spent resting.
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Keywords: checkout counter; electromyography; ergonomic redesign; motion analysis; work posture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Occupational Medicine,INAIL, Via Fontana Candida 1, Monte Porzio CatoneRome,00040, Italy 2: Fondazione Don Gnocchi, Rome, Italy 3: Department of Medical and Surgical Science and Biotechnologies,Sapienza University of Rome, Latina,04100, Italy 4: Faculty of Applied Sciences and Arts,Product Design Department, German University in Cairo – GUC, Cairo, Egypt

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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