IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Ergonomic factors related to health and safety problems in supermarkets, and the potential impact of ergonomic interventions


This research was undertaken to evaluate health and safety problems in supermarkets, identify risk factors, and develop intervention strategies. The study population included all workers except managers and cashiers: assistant cashiers, bakers, produce clerks, grocery clerks, delicatessen clerks, butchers, bakery wrappers, and fish mongers. Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 63% of all reported occupational injuries, and almost half of the population had suffered such injuries in the seven days preceding the study. Exposure to risk factors was estimated, taking into account each employee’s time budget (hours per week). Statistically significant associations were observed between some risk factors and musculoskeletal problems. Task analysis indicated that the most important determinants of risk factors were architecture, furniture, workplace layout and organizational factors. The pattern of results, including an analysis of the company’s organization and business position (obtained through semi-open interviews), suggests that integrating ergonomics considerations into the planning of supermarket renovation or design is the most promising intervention strategy.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0093-0350
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 1999
Research Team:
  • Lina Forcier (Université du Québec à Montréal )
  • Sylvie Beaugrand (IRSST)
  • Claire Lapointe (IRSST)
  • Monique Lortie (Université du Québec à Montréal )
  • Jacques Lemaire (Université du Québec à Montréal )
  • Ilkka Kuorinka (IRSST)
  • Peter Buckle (Université de Surrey (UK))
  • Jean-Guy Richard (IRSST)