Industry guidance document Checkout workstations in retail - safe design and work practices

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1 Industry guidance document Checkout workstations in retai - safe design and work practices Industry guidance document Checkout workstations in retai - safe design and work practices WorkSafe

2 Contents Foreword Introduction Safety aws Occupationa Safety and Heath Act Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations Provision of a standing or seated checkout workstation Risk factors Hazard identification, risk assessment and risk contro Hazard identification Risk assessment Controing the risk Contro measures standing checkout workstations Contro measures for seated checkout workstations Contro measures for seated and standing checkout workstations Overview of the appicabe egisation What does the Act say? What do the reguations say?...16 Appendix 1 - Risk assessment forms Further information Contacts for further information... 20

3 Foreword This industry guidance document is the outcome of the Department of Consumer and Empoyment Protection Tripartite Working Group on Checkout Workstations in Retai. This document has been deveoped through the tripartite consutative process and views of the empoyer group and the union, aong with those of government and experts, incuding practices in other states and countries, have been considered. The document foows the risk management process of hazard identification, risk assessment and risk contro, and provides exampes of safe work practices and the safe design of standing and seated workstations. The Working Group wi continue monitoring deveopments in reation to the safe design of seated and standing checkout workstations and wi update this document as new technoogy becomes avaiabe. 3

4 1. Introduction The most common contributing factors to occupationa injuries for checkout operators in Western Austraia are poor design of checkout workstations and unsafe systems of work. Most injuries sustained by checkout operators are sprains/strains of joints and adjacent musces, with the majority of injuries being ocated in the ower back, foowed by wrist and shouder injuries. These injuries can be referred to as muscuoskeeta injuries. Checkout workstations in the retai industry shoud be designed, panned and operated so as to reduce the exposure of checkout operators to hazards resuting in muscuoskeeta injuries. Severa factors can increase the risk of injury or harm to heath to checkout operators. The Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations 1996 require hazards to be identified, their risks assessed, and the means by which the risks may be reduced considered. This is caed the risk management process. Foow up and review is an essentia aspect of the risk management process. Contro measures need to be reviewed to determine if risk is eiminated or controed, or if new hazards have been introduced. This document iustrates some factors that can increase the risk of injury or harm to checkout operators. In addition, it aso provides information on the risk management process that can be foowed to eiminate or reduce the risk of injury to checkout operators. 2. Safety aws 2.1 Occupationa Safety and Heath Act 1984 Under the Occupationa Safety and Heath Act 1984 (the Act) empoyers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment so that empoyees are not, so far as is practicabe, exposed to hazards. So far as practicabe means that the empoyer is expected to take measures that are practicabe and reasonabe to reduce, contro or eiminate hazard. The reevant factors in assessing practicabiity are set out in section 3 of the Act, and are as foows: (a) the severity of any potentia injury or harm to heath that may be invoved, and the degree of risk of it occurring; (b) the state of knowedge about -- (i) the injury or harm to heath referred to in paragraph (a); (ii) the risk of that injury or harm to heath occurring; and (iii) means of removing or mitigating the risk or mitigating the potentia injury or harm to heath; and (c) the avaiabiity, suitabiity, and cost of the means referred to in paragraph (b)(iii). 4

5 2.2 Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations The Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations 1996 (the Reguations) prescribe minimum standards and define specific requirements reated to particuar hazards or particuar types of work. Sub-reguation 3.19(1) requires an empoyer to provide seating if the work is done from a sitting position, or if the work is of a kind that can be done satisfactoriy from a sitting position. Additionay, sub-reguation 3.19(2) provides that an empoyer must, to the extent practicabe, where an empoyee s work is done from a standing position and the empoyee s work aows the empoyee to sit from time to time, provide and maintain seating, so that the empoyee may sit down during the periods when the empoyee is not working. For more information on safety aws refer to Chapter Provision of a standing or seated checkout workstation The issue of seated checkout workstations has been the subject of some community debate over recent years. This debate focused on the issue of whether the work coud be satisfactoriy done from a sitting position in a standing checkout workstation, and whether or not retaiers shoud provide a seated or a standing checkout workstation. Most retaiers in Austraia provide standing checkout workstations, where empoyees are scanning and bagging artices. Some other countries provide seated checkout workstations in supermarkets. When seating is provided, empoyees are scanning and customers are bagging artices. The design and type of workstation is dependent upon a number of factors, incuding but not imited to the work that is carried out, the size and weight of artices to be handed and the activities the checkout operator carries out. 5

6 WorkSafe promotes the use of a risk management approach to assess each work situation and provide a working environment where empoyees are not exposed to hazards. This coud incude an ergonomicay designed standing or seated checkout workstation, among other measures such as task rotation, micropauses and adequate information and training. WorkSafe s view is that seating shoud be provided where it is practicabe to do so and where it woud not increase the risk of muscuoskeeta injuries. 3. Risk factors A number of factors can increase the risk of muscuoskeeta injury and other manua handing injuries to checkout operators. These incude: size, shape and weight of objects, which are moved/handed by checkout operators, incuding the force appied when handing awkward or heavy artices, such as boxes, cartons of cans and shopping bags; awkward movements, such as twisting, bending and over-reaching, particuary in combination with handing artices and shopping bags; sitting or standing whie hoding the body in a fixed position; and individua characteristics such as age, gender, physica dimension, pregnancy and any disabiities or other conditions a person may have. Risk factors are infuenced by the: Duration and frequency of the tasks Standing or sitting behind a checkout for proonged periods of time and repetitive movements whie handing artices can increase the risk of injury to empoyees. To reduce such risks, task rotation, reguar breaks and mini-breaks shoud be impemented. Design and ayout of the workstation The design and ayout of checkout workstation can increase the risk of injury, as a resut of ifting, twisting, stooping, and reaching. In the design and ayout of checkout workstations the foowing factors shoud be taken into account to reduce the risk of injury to empoyees: the working heights; the type and position of equipment such as bags, scanning equipment and scaes; the need for ifting, twisting, stooping and reaching whie performing the tasks; the type of foor surfaces, whist the operator is standing; ergonomic design of chair or sit/stand stoo, whie operator is sitting; the eg cearance; and the space around the workstation. Experience and training Unfamiiarity with the task and a ack of training in reation to the tasks and the hazards invoved can increase the risk of injury to empoyees. 6

7 4. Hazard identification, risk assessment and risk contro The Occupationa Safety and Heath Act 1984 paces the onus on the empoyer to provide and maintain, so far as is practicabe, a safe work environment in which empoyees are not exposed to hazards. A safe workpace, pant and systems of work shoud be provided and empoyees shoud be adequatey trained and supervised to carry out their duties in a safe manner. Three basic steps shoud be taken to ensure a safe and heathy workpace. They are based on the concept that the workpace shoud be modified to suit peope, not vice versa. The three steps are: identifying the hazards recognising things which may cause injury or harm to the heath of a person; assessing the risks ooking at the possibiity of injury or harm occurring to a person being exposed to a hazard; and controing the risk by introducing measures, which wi eiminate or reduce the risk of a person being exposed to a hazard. This three-step approach is caed the risk management process and shoud be carried out in consutation safety and heath representatives, if any, and empoyees. As part of the risk management process, identified hazards and contro measures shoud be monitored and reviewed. This is to ensure that the contro measures are continuing to prevent or contro exposure to hazards or hazardous work practices. 4.1 Hazard identification Methods of identifying hazards incude, but are not imited to: Checking and anaysis of injury and hazard reports. Consuting with empoyees, safety and heath representatives and supervisors. Consutation shoud incude the foowing: Asking empoyees about which tasks or other factors may ead to physica strain when working behind the checkout workstation. This coud incude questions such as: Which tasks or other factors may ead to physica strain? Has the empoyee had any discomfort or pain whie working behind the checkout workstation, if yes, what were contributing factors? How many hours per week empoyees generay work behind checkout workstations? How many hours per day does the empoyee work behind a checkout workstation during trading hours? After how many minutes/hours a break is taken and how ong are these breaks? If task rotation is in pace, how that works and if that is seen as an adequate measure? If individua characteristics of empoyees may ead to physica strain? 7

8 Consuting with safety and heath representatives on safety and heath probems or concerns that they have become aware of as part of their functions. Taking to supervisors about any concerns or difficuties they are aware of or that their empoyees experience whie working behind a checkout workstation. Carrying out workpace inspection and observing tasks. Observe manua handing tasks and determine risks such as ifting bags, twisting, stooping and reaching whie performing the functions of the job and take note of the: working heights; position of equipment, such as shopping bags, position of scanning equipment and scaes; foor surfaces; eg cearance; and space around workstation. Looking for trends or common probems in the hazards identified. 4.2 Risk assessment The purpose of risk assessment is to assess any identified hazard that may be a risk within the workpace. Risk assessment shoud be carried out in consutation with empoyees and safety and heath representatives. The assessment shoud take into account a range of risk factors incuding: workpace and checkout workstation ayout; working posture; duration and frequency of task; force appied; work organisation; skis and experience; and individua factors. The risk assessment process assesses the potentia consequences for each hazard and rate the risk of injury or harm to the empoyee. For more information on risk assessment and for copies of risk assessment forms refer to the Risk assessment form in Appendix 1, the Code of practice on manua handing; The nationa Code of practice for the prevention of occupationa overuse syndrome and The First Step - managing safety and heath hazards in your workpace.

9 4.3 Controing the risk To eiminate or reduce manua handing and other risks, suitabe contros need to be deveoped and impemented in consutation with empoyees. Contros coud incude the foowing: where practicabe eiminate the manua handing activity; where this is not practicabe, reduce the risk by redesigning or modifying the: work and work organisation; checkout workstation, such as working height, eg cearance, space around the workstation; position of equipment, such as shopping bags, scanning equipment and scaes; task to suit the worker; and information and training provided to empoyees. Strategies to change work shoud be aimed at reducing risk factors associated with actions, postures, oads and the work environment. Risk factors can be reduced by a number of approaches, incuding: modifying workpace ayout and equipment; modifying the oad; controing the work environment; and redesigning work patterns. The design of workstations is dependent upon the work that is carried out and the size and weight of the artices. For instance, the work height of a checkout workstation in a hardware store, where heavy or buky items are handed, is ikey to be ower than a workstation in a music store, where ight and sma items are handed. The type of workstation is dependent upon the activities and the type of work that is carried out. For exampe, in the event that the operator is waking up and down to serve cients, a standing workstation is preferred. In the event that the operator stays in one position to serve cients, both standing or seated workstation may be appropriate.

10 The foowing information is on the design, operation and other contro measures that can be considered to ensure the safety of standing and seated checkout workstations Contro measures for standing checkout workstations Work height The work height depends on three aspects: The height of the user. The idea work height of the workstation is at ebow height. Fixed height of workstations can best be reated to the average size of the users. The type of work. As a guide, ight or precision work shoud be carried out at approximatey ebow height, whereas heavy work shoud be carried out at approximatey hip height. The size and weight of artices. Generay the work height is dependent upon the weight of the average artices that are sod in the shop. The work height shoud be higher when scanning and packaging ight and sma artices and shoud be ower when scanning and packaging arge and heavy artices. 10

11 Reaching distances Equipment that is used often throughout the day, such as scaes, scanner and eftpos machine shoud be within an easy reach distance, whie working in a standing position. This wi reduce the need for reaching and stooping. To reduce ifting, bending over and reaching whie scanning heavy or buky artices, adequate contros must be considered. These contros coud incude, but are not imited to: scan cards of barcodes for heavy or buky artices shoud be kept near the operator; hand-hed scanners; PLUs (price ook-ups); detachabe tickets. Position of shopping bags If the operator paces the artices in pastic bags using a singe or doube bag we, the ocation of the bags shoud be in such a position that the operator can adopt a comfortabe upright working posture. The position and height and the bag racks shoud not cause operators to stoop, twist or reach whie packing shopping bags. Checkout workstations shoud be designed, in such a way that it is not necessary to ift a fu shopping bag onto the checkout counter. The design of the checkout shoud aow the operator to side each shopping bag across the counter to customers easiy. Cients increasingy bring their own shopping bags, which can carry heavier oads. Bagging and ifting heavier bags, create an increased risk of injury or harm to heath to the operator. The operator shoud assess the risk and wherever practicabe encourage the cient to assist with bagging of artices. Leg cearance To faciitate a natura upright position, it is important to ensure there is sufficient room for the operator to have eg cearance under the workstation. Intermittenty raising one eg coud improve the position of the hip and back. Workspace generay There must be sufficient room around the checkout workstation for the checkout operator to be abe to compete tasks unimpeded. Paths for through traffic shoud be minima and reduce the number of peope waking behind or past the checkout station. Foor surface The foor behind the counter or checkout must be a non-sippery surface. Standing on hard foor surfaces shoud be avoided. If empoyees are working in a standing position, soft foor surface or antifatigue matting shoud be provided. Footwear Empoyees shoud wear fat sturdy footwear. Inappropriate footwear ie high hees can cause back and neck probems, particuary if worn for a ong period of time. 11

12 4.3.2 Contro measures for seated checkout workstations Work height The idea working height is approximatey at ebow eve. At this height the arms can move freey above the working surface and the ebows can rest on the surface whie the shouders are reaxed. Lifting of any items shoud be minimised and ifting of heavy items shoud be eiminated whie sitting down. The workstation surface height is infuenced by: Thickness of the work surface The thickness of the work surface shoud be reduced as far as practicabe, to ensure sufficient eg cearance. When purchasing new equipment, attention must be paid to the thickness of the work surface and appiances (eg money drawer, scanner, conveyor, etc). Height and design of chair The height of the chair must be adjustabe and suitabe back support shoud be provided. The seat height depends on persona preference, work surface height and thickness, and the presence of a raised patform. Height and adjustabiity of footrest The size and position of the footrest are important to ensure a good sitting posture. The footrest must be adjustabe in order to accommodate different body characteristics. 12

13 Eye contact is very important for good communication. Therefore it is important to be abe to communicate at an approximate simiar eye height. There are two ways to achieve this: a cash register with an eevated foor surface; or a high cash register with a high chair, which aows work to be carried out in either a sitting or standing position. Risk in reation to getting on and off the chair in the specific situation shoud be considered. 13

14 Reaching distances Equipment that is used often throughout the day, such as scaes, scanner and eftpos machine shoud be within an easy reach distance, whie working in a seated position. This wi reduce the need for reaching and stooping. Whist working in a seated position reaching to equipment, and ifting of bags and awkward or heavy artices shoud be minimised. Lifting and twisting whie working in a seated position increases the oad on the spine and therefore the risk of muscuoskeeta injury. The ergonomic design of a seated workstation shoud aow the operator to side artices from the conveyor bet across a scanner onto another bet or area where customers can do their own bagging. To eiminate the need to weigh artices at the checkout, scaes with a buit-in abeing machine coud be paced in the fruit and vegetabe area to aow customers to weigh and abe the artices. Leg cearance Sufficient room must be provided to aow unimpeded eg cearance. A very common probem in checkout workstations is a ack of eg room, due to areas underneath the station being used as a temporary storage for items such as pastic bags, hangers and rubbish bins. The provision of adequate eg cearance is aso important in the case of sit/stand workstations. Obstaces can impede free movement of the chair or sit/stand stoo. 14

15 4.3.3 Contro measures for seated and standing checkout workstations Task rotation and reguar breaks/micro pauses Task rotation and job enargement can introduce task variety and reduce the amount of repetitive movements or sustained manua handing each empoyee does throughout the shift. Impementing work practices such as reguar breaks and micro pauses incuding stretching, rising and greeting new customers, can hep prevent injury. Training A operators must receive appropriate training in manua handing and risk reduction strategies. Training coud incude eements such as: optima work posture to reduce the risk of injury; optima use of scan cards and hand hed scanners; task rotation and different tasks; and taking reguar breaks and micro pauses; When the empoyee is working from a standing position operators must receive appropriate training in risk reduction strategies with regard to: propping themseves up against the checkout; and to the extent practicabe, sitting down from time to time when the empoyee is not working; When the empoyee is working from a seated position operators must receive appropriate training in risk reduction strategies with regard to: standing up to stretch the back and other musces when there is a u between customers. 5. Overview of the appicabe egisation Western Austraia s occupationa safety and heath aws cover a individua workpaces, incuding shops, supermarkets and other retai outets. 5.1 What does the Act say? The Occupationa Safety and Heath Act 1984 requires empoyers, as far as practicabe, to provide and maintain a working environment in which empoyees are exposed to hazards. Empoyers duties incude: providing and maintaining safe workpaces, pant and systems of work; providing safety information, instruction, training and supervision; consuting and cooperating with safety and heath representatives and empoyees; and where is it is not practicabe to eiminate hazards, providing protective cothing and equipment. Empoyees are required to: take reasonabe care of their own safety and heath; and avoid adversey affecting the safety or heath of others. 15

16 5.2 What do the reguations say? The Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations 1996 incude a number of sections reevant to the ergonomic design of workstations in retai. The first of these is Reguation 3.1 which requires empoyers, main contractors, sef-empoyed persons and those in contro of workpaces or access to workpaces to: Identify each hazard to which a person at the workpace is ikey to be exposed; Assess the risk of injury or harm to a person resuting from each identified hazard; and Consider the means by which risk may be reduced. Without imiting reguation 3.1, Reguation 3.4 requires empoyers, main contractors, sef empoyed peope and those in contro of workpaces or access to workpaces to identify hazards which are ikey to arise from manua handing at the workpace, assess the risk and consider contro measures. Manua handing incudes any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to ift, ower, push, pu, carry or otherwise move, hod restrain a person, anima or thing. Reguation 3.6 Movement around workpaces says that at a workpace an empoyer, the main contractor, sef empoyed person or a person having contro of the workpace must, where practicabe, ensure that the workpace is arranged so that persons are abe to move safey within the workpace and passages for the purpose of enabing persons to move within the workpace are at a times kept free of obstructions. Reguation 3.14 Work space generay says that as far as practicabe, the empoyer must provide each empoyee with sufficient space in which to work without risk to the empoyee s safety and heath. Reguation 3.19 Seating requires that (1) If an empoyee s work is done from a sitting position or is of a kind that can be satisfactoriy done from a sitting position then the empoyer must provide and maintain seating: (a) that is designed having regard to the nature of the work to be performed and the characteristics of the workstation; (b) that is strongy constructed, stabe, comfortabe and of suitabe size and height for the empoyee; and (c) if practicabe, has a backrest or is otherwise designed to provide back support. (2) If an empoyee s work is done from a standing position and the work aows the empoyee to sit from time to time, to the extent practicabe, the empoyer must provide and maintain seating so that the empoyee may sit down for the periods when not working. 16

17 Appendix 1 Risk assessment form checkout workstations - Part 1 Risk factors to consider Yes No N/A Workpace and checkout workstation ayout/design Standing workstation Is the height of the checkout workstation between ebow and hip height? Are the shopping bags ocated: So that the operator can adopt a comfortabe upright position? So the operator does not have to ift a fu shopping bag onto the checkout counter? Is the foor surface soft or if it is a hard foor surface is there anti-fatigue matting? Seated workstations Is the height of the checkout workstation at approximatey ebow height of the user? Is the thickness of the work surface reduced as far as is practicabe to ensure sufficient eg cearance? Is the chair height adjustabe through a suitabe range? Has the chair got a suitabe back support? Is there an adjustabe footrest? Can the operator get on/off chair safey and unimpeded? Does the conveyor bet aow the operator to side artices across the scanner onto another bet or area? Seated and standing workstations Is the equipment such as scaes, scanner and eftpos machine within easy reach? Is storage of artices (eg bags, rubbish bin) underneath the workstation minimised to aow unimpeded eg cearance? Is the foor surface non sippery? Is there enough workspace around the checkout workstation for the operator to compete tasks unimpeded? Is through traffic minimised? Working posture Can work be competed in an upright supported posture? (If there is any forward reaching more than 30cm away from the body, reaching above shouder height, bending beow mid thigh height, twisting or sideways bending by the operator then work cannot be competed in an upright supported posture) 17

18 Risk factors to consider Yes No N/A Duration and frequency of task Does the operator have the opportunity to compete a variety of tasks? Does the operator take reguar breaks? Does the operator take micro pauses? Can the operator avoid sitting or standing for proonged periods of time? Force appied Is the handing of heavy items minimised by strategies such as scan cards, hand hed scanners, PLUs or detachabe tickets? Can the operator side rather than ift oaded shopping bags? Is ifting from a seated position minimised/eiminated? Is there minima force required to move items across the scanner? Work organisation Is there task rotation and/or job enargement impemented? Skis and experience Is the operator famiiar with the task? Have the operators received adequate training? (Training shoud incude eements such as optima work posture, use of scan cards/hand hed scanners, task rotation, taking breaks, micro pause, propping, changing positions) Individua factors Have the individua characteristics of the operators been considered eg age, gender, physica dimension, pregnancy, and any disabiities or other conditions? A no response indicates an increase in the risk of injury. This form is shoud be used in conjunction with this Industry guidance document Checkout workstations in retai safe design and work practices. More information can be found in the Code of practice for manua handing and the nationa Code of practice for the prevention of occupationa overuse syndrome. 18

19 Appendix 1 Risk assessment form checkout workstations - Part 2 Workpace name: Page no Worka area: Name Date: No Hazard identified Assess the risk 1). ikeihood. consequence Identify proposed action Responsibe person 1) Use risk rating tabe. For an exampe refer to the WorkSafe pubication The first step managing safety and heath in your workpace. Action competed 19

20 Further information Legisation Occupationa Safety and Heath Act 1984 Occupationa Safety and Heath Reguations 1996 Commission for Occupationa Safety and Heath documents Code of Practice: Manua Handing Approved Code of Practice: Prevention of Occupationa Overuse Syndrome [NOHSC:2013(1994)] Contacts for further information Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Austraia 180 Hay Street EAST PERTH WA 6004 Te: (08) Fax: (08) Emai: Website: Unions WA Leve 4, 79 Stiring Street PERTH WA 6000 Te: (08) Fax: (08) Emai: Shop, Distributive & Aied Empoyee s Association of WA 5th Foor 25 Barrack Street PERTH WA 6000 Te (08) WorkSafe Department of Consumer and Empoyment Protection 5th Foor 1260 Hay Street WEST PERTH WA 6005 Te: (08) Internet: 20

21 WorkSafe Westcentre 1260 Hay Street, West Perth Locked Bag 14, Coisters Square 6850 Ph: (08) Fax: (08) August 2005 ISBN Comprehensive work safety and heath information can be found at: Safetyine is a service provided by the Department of Consumer and Empoyment Protection This document is avaiabe on request in other formats for peope with specia needs. DP / Aug 05 / onine ony 21

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