Checklist for identifying potential ergonomics risk factors by activity

If the answer to any of the following questions is "Yes," the activity should be further reviewed.

Force in Lifting

  • Does the lift involve pinching to hold the object?
  • Is heavy lifting done with one hand?
  • Are very heavy items lifted without the assistance of a mechanical device?
  • Are heavy items lifted while bending over, reaching above shoulder height, or twisting?
  • Are most items lifted rather than slid over the scanner?

Force in Pushing, Pulling, Carrying

  • Are dollies, pallet jacks, or other carts difficult to get started?
  • Is there debris (e.g., broken pallets), uneven surfaces (e.g., cracks in the floor), or dock plates that could catch the wheels while pushing?
  • Is pulling rather than pushing routinely used to move an object?
  • Are heavy objects carried manually for a long distance?

Force to Use Tools

  • Do tools require the use of a pinch grip or single finger to operate?
  • Are tools too large or too small for the employee’s hands?

Repetitive Tasks

  • Are multiple scans needed?
  • Is a quick wrist motion used while scanning?
  • Do repetitive motions last for several hours without a break (e.g., slicing deli meats, scanning groceries)?
  • Does the job require repeated finger force (e.g., kneading bread, squeezing frosting, using pricing gun)?

Awkward and Static Postures

  • Is the back bent or twisted while lifting or holding heavy items?
  • Are objects lifted out of or put into cramped spaces?
  • Do routine tasks involve leaning, bending forward, kneeling, or squatting?
  • Do routine tasks involve working with the wrists in a bent or twisted position?
  • Are routine tasks done with the hands below the waist or above the shoulders?
  • Are routine tasks done behind (e.g., pushing items to bagging) or to the sides of the body?
  • Does the job require standing for most of the shift without anti-fatigue mats?
  • Do employees work with their arms or hands in the same position for long periods of time without changing positions or resting?

Contact Stress

  • Are there sharp or hard edges with which the worker may come into contact?
  • Do employees use their hands as hammers (e.g., closing containers)?
  • Does the end of the tool/utensil (knife) handle press into the worker’s palm?

Source: National Grocers Association, Arlington, VA.