One of the most common tasks performed by Safety Professionals or the Industrial Hygienist is observation. We will begin to use what we have learned in this course as well as in other safety courses and apply it to an everyday work assignment–not your own– but another of your choosing. I suggest the following: Supermarket stocker, traffic policeman, classroom school teacher, sacker at a supermarket, office assistant, etc. This is what you will do:1. Pick an activity to observe.
2. Pick out one of the checklists from the text which you believe would be appropriate for the activity you will observe. You may use a portion of a checklist or portions of several checklists–whatever will work for your situation. I expect you will find many ergonomic problems in every workplace, and your work on this project should reflect this.
3. Visit with management of the establishment. Explain that you have a course assignment and ask for permission to observe an employee. Explain additionally that you will be writing a report to your instructor about what you observe. Your report will identify ergonomic adequacies and inadequacies as revealed by the checklist you have chosen. Take a copy of the report to management so they can see what you will be looking for. Explain that no other use of the report will be made–this is only a class assignment. After receiving approval from management, observe the activities you have picked to view and make your notes for your report. Prepare the report (remember the checklists are all available for your use as part of this program). Your final report should contain the checklist(s) you used as well as an opening paragraph describing what you are observing and a closing paragraph which will summarize your report. As was stated in the Management Report instructions, your use of the English language counts. If you have any doubt about your writing skill, you may have another instructor, a friend, your significant other look over your paper and make suggestions.The requested assistance is attached.The job I will be observing is that of a sacker at Krogers, which is a major supermarket chain across America. After conferring with management to illustrate my intentions for this assignment, the manager allowed me to come and observe the sackers as they conducted their jobs during the morning and night shifts. Typically workers rotated working from 7-3 and 3-11. These 8 hour shifts entailed sacking, taking groceries to customers cars, and other duties such as cleaning up spills on the aisles and occasionally facing the product, which is a technique wherein sackers go up and down the aisles to ensure that merchandise is facing customers and not out of place. The sackers did not have any work braces or other items that could mitigate the constant standing and lifting associated with their jobs. The checklist used for this assignment because I feel it is most appropriate is Checklist #1. Much of the work involved with sacking is focused on physical labor such as lifting, standing, walking, and other menial tasks that are repetitively done throughout the day by sackers. This is what I deduced through my observations and why I chose to use Checklist #1 that deals with the physical nature of work tasks. Are the joints in a neutral position? No, there is constant movement on behalf of the sackers, but during times of limited customers joints can remain in neutral positions for extended minutes. 10 minute integrals of inactivity were not uncommon.
Is the work held close to the body? Yes.
Are forward-bending postures avoided? No, the workers bent forward regularly to pick up items and lift them into the bags.
Are twisted trunk postures avoided? No, sometimes the sackers bodies would become dis-contorted as a result of awkward attempts to bag the groceries for customers.
Are sudden movements and forces avoided? No, often sudden movements were required to prevent items from slipping from their grips.
Is there a variation in postures and movements? Yes.
Is the duration of any continuous muscular effort limited? No, if many customers are in the store sackers must continuously sack, moving from one customer to the next.
Is muscle exhaustion avoided? No, the nature of the work negates against muscle exhaustion if a large volume of customers is in the store. If it is a regular or slow day, muscle exhaustion is avoided.
Are breaks sufficiently short to allow them to be spread over the duration of the task? Yes.Physiological backgroundIs the energy consumption for each task limited? No, this depends on the sacker and how quickly they wish to exert their energy for the tasks at hand.
Is rest taken after heavy work? Yes.Anthropometric backgroundHas account been taken of differences in body size? No, most groceries are not extremely heavy and can be lifted by anyone who is not disabled.
Have the right anthropometric tables been used for specific populations? N/APostureHas a basic posture been selected that fits the job? Yes, standing is the basic posture.SittingIs sitting alternated with standing and walking? N/A
Are the height of the seat and backrest of the chair adjustable? N/A
Is the number of adjustment possibilities limited? N/A
Have good seating instructions been provided? N/A
Are the specific chair characteristics dependent on the task? N/A
Is the work height dependent on the task? No, short, medium, and tall people occupy this workstation.
Do the heights of the work surface, seat and feet correspond? N/A
Is a footrest used where the work height is fixed? N/A
Are excessive reaches avoided? Yes.
Is there a sloping work surface for reading tasks? N/A
Is there enough legroom? N/AStandingIs standing alternated with sitting and walking? Yes, but only walking and not sitting.
Is work height dependent on the task? No, any task done while sacking is done at the same workstations.
Is the height of the work table adjustable? N/A
Has the use of platforms been avoided? N/A
Is there enough room for the legs and feet? N/A
Are excessive reaches avoided? Yes.
Is there a sloping work surface for reading tasks? N/AChange of posture Has an effort been made to provide a varied task package? Yes.
Have combined sit-stand workplaces been introduced? No, sitting is not practical for this job.
Is a Balans chair used once in a while in seated work? N/A
Is a pedestal stool used once in a while in standing work? No, handicapped workers who cant stand on their own two feet would not be given this job.Hand and arm posturesHas the right model of tool been chosen? N/A
Is the tool curved instead of the wrist being bent? N/A
Are hand-held tools not too heavy? N/A
Are tools well maintained? N/A
Has attention been paid to the shape of handgrips? N/A
Has work above shoulder level been avoided? No, sometimes sackers must lift items above shoulder level. These items are not excessively heavy.
Has work with the hands behind the body been avoided? Yes.MovementLiftingHave tasks involving manual displacement of loads been limited? Yes.
Have optimum lifting conditions been achieved? Yes.
Has care been taken that any one person always lifts less, and preferably much less, than 23 kg? Yes.
Have lifting situations been assessed using the NIOSH method? No, this method is not utilized in training manuals or in the workforce.
Are the weights to be lifted not too small? N/A
Are the workplaces suited to lifting activities? Yes.
Are handgrips fitted to the loads to be lifted? Yes.
Does the load have a favorable shape? Yes.
Have good lifting techniques been used? Yes.
Is more than one person involved in lifting? No, only one person works at each workstation.
Are lifting accessories used? No, the lifting involves grabbing the groceries and placing them in a bag, which will subsequently be carried to the car. Carrying Is the weight of the load limited? Yes.
Is the load held as close to the body as possible? Yes.
Are good handgrips fitted? Yes.
Is the vertical dimension of the load limited? Yes.
Is carrying with one hand avoided? No, sometimes workers carry bags in each hand. This occurs often actually.
Are transport accessories being used? Yes, a worker may transport an electronic cart carrier back to the store after the handicapped customer has been escorted to their vehicle.Pulling and pushingSackers are responsible for removing the carts from the parking lot and must pull and push these carts back into the store.Are pulling and pushing forces limited? Yes.
Is the body weight used during pulling and pushing? Yes.
Are the trolleys fitted with handgrips? Yes.
Do the trolleys have two swivel wheels? Yes.
Are the floors hardened and even? Yes.Solutions that could enhance the workers experience as sackers entail the limiting of hours that workers stand on their feet in the same position. This is the most important issue that needs to be addressed from my vantage point.In summary, I will conclude that working as a sacker at a grocery store is a strenuous and physical job. Sackers must conduct many tasks that require physical labor such as lifting, pulling, and pushing groceries and carts. In addition they are required to stand on their feet for the majority of their shifts, which can be stressful on their bodies. Therefore, its imperative that workers take the proper precautions for their bodies because the job would not be able to be done if major changes were made toward these tasks.
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