The Importance of Lifting Height and Load Mass for Muscular Workload during Supermarket Stocking: Cross-Sectional Field Study

Sebastian Venge Skovlund*, Rúni Bláfoss, Sebastian Skals, Markus Due Jakobsen, Lars Louis Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

High physical work demands increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and sickness absence. Supermarket work involves a high amount of manual material handling. Identifying specific ergonomic risk factors is an important part of occupational health and safety efforts in the supermarket sector. In this cross-sectional field study among 64 supermarket workers, we used electromyography during the workday to determine the influence of lifting height and load mass on muscular workload of the low-back and neck/shoulder muscles during un-restricted manual material handling (grocery stocking). We found a significant effect of load mass, i.e., higher loads associated with higher muscular workload in the low-back and neck/shoulder muscles. We demonstrated a significant interaction between start and end position, i.e., lifts performed from ‘Low’ start positions to ‘High’ end positions demonstrated the highest low-back muscular workload, whereas ‘High’ positions were associated with increased neck/shoulder workload. In conclusion, lifting higher loads and lifting goods from low to high positions (low-back) and at high positions (neck/shoulder) are associated with higher muscular workload. These results can be used to guide highly warranted preventive initiatives to reduce the physical workload during supermarket work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3030
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number5
Number of pages14
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4. Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • EMG
  • Grocery stores
  • Lifting
  • Manual material handling
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Retail industry

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