Integrating ergonomics: a practical case study

The authors were commissioned to work as part of a design team in the production of a new supermarket checkout. The primary goals at the onset of the project were to reduce build costs and enhance customer interaction without compromising health and safety. The ergonomics issues identified through the initial literature search highlighted two key checkout operator considerations: the need to minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injury; and the importance of factors other than equipment design, such as task design and training, in minimising risk and optimising performance. This paper discusses how these two considerations were maintained and developed throughout the design process as the original project goals changed. Its purpose is not to discuss the ergonomics of checkout design; rather, it uses the checkout design case history to highlight where the ergonomics practitioner can successfully contribute to project success.