Our ergonomics consultancy programme helps businesses learn more about implementing effective ergonomic practices in their workplace.
Ergonomics is a vital component of retail with an objective of ensuring employees can perform their jobs effectively, safely and comfortably. Our specialist Lead Ergonomist Melanie Swann has worked with some of our largest customers, advising on the optimal layout of equipment within the retail and many other industries.
What is ergonomics (or human factors)?
- The study of workers and their work
- Focuses on the relationships between people and their whole work system
- It is fitting the task to the person
In most situations good design will go unnoticed, but poor design will be noticed (and complained about!). Ergonomics aims to ensure that any design complements the strengths and abilities of people whilst minimizing their limitations and weaknesses; rather than forcing people to make adaptations to utilize a poor design.
Ergonomists design for the huge variability of the target population, including attributes such as; age, physical size (height, reach), strength, cognitive ability, experience and training, motivation, cultural expectations and goals. Ergonomics knowledge and methodology is used to assess work equipment, environment and systems to formulate improvements in the processes and setups in any workplace.
Ergonomics is all about designing for people. There are two main objectives;
- To enhance effectiveness and efficiency in any activity undertaken
- Enhance the strengths and abilities of people – reduce stress and strain, improved safety, increased comfort, increase job satisfaction
Why use Ergonomic Consultancy?
- Ensure optimal equipment, work environment and workstation design and layout.
- Design and maintain best practice work methods, shift patterns or workload.
- Assess potential or actual problems using the most accurate scientific methods and provide recommendations to improve poor work situations.
- Assist in increasing the health and effectiveness of employees, including preventing and managing work related injuries and work-related stress.
Retail ergonomics is unique because:
- The nature of the work – often repetitive and in static positions for long periods; typically point of sale (POS) workstations must take up the smallest possible footprint within a store.
- Public Access – security and durability.
- Technology – constantly changing and upgrading; new technologies must be included in an already congested POS workstation.
- Inclusive target population – all people need to be able to access and able to use equipment.
Our ergonomists can help retailers provide safe, comfortable, effective and efficient workspaces throughout the retail store to help them achieve excellent and streamlined customer service:
All areas of the retail chain can benefit from good ergonomics, including:
- Traditional and express checkouts
- Cash desks
- Payment devices and terminals
- Hand-held devices – chip and pin machines, tablets, mobile payments
- Self-service checkouts and kiosks
- Office and warehouse locations
- Shelving and displays
Ergonomic design of delicatessen cold cases ensures that it is easy to stock, clean, and that produce is well displayed and optimally stored. Any risk arising from manual handling is minimised and the task can be safely carried out by any employee.
Good ergonomics at checkout and cash desk workstations will ensure that operators are working comfortably and efficiently; scanning goods, processing payments and in some cases packing and wrapping items. Consideration will be given to ease of access for cleaning, maintenance and future “proofing” for upgrades.
Why consider ergonomic design?
Retail workstations that adhere to good ergonomic principles can:
- Improve productivity, job satisfaction and customer service levels.
- Reduce absenteeism and ill health.
- Reduce the incidence of litigation and compensation claims.
- Ensure that operation is intuitive for operators and customers, which will promote seamless customer flow at the checkout.
- Optimise equipment set up at all workstation types.
- Ensure legal compliance and best practice.
Involving ergonomists early in the design process:
- Is expedient and cost effective.
- Allows problems to be identified early – before time and money are spent and changes become expensive at a later stage of the process.
- Ensures effectiveness, efficiency and operator satisfaction are incorporated in the design at the outset.
- Identifies potential training needs.
- Experienced consultants work with you to meet your practical requirements, timescale and budget.
- Plans, prototypes and the finished product can all be subject to ergonomic evaluation.
- We can test the usability and accessibility of equipment with specific users.
- We will provide training advice and guidance for new and existing operators.
- Recommendations – we will provide advice and continued support to ensure best results.
We have provided ergonomic consultancy to:
- Sainsbury’s checkouts, cash desks, produce shelving and chill cases.
- Sainsbury’s pharmacy customer facing and dispensary workstations.
- Coop Switzerland cash desk and checkout workstations.
- El Corte Ingles incorporation of chip and PIN technology at all concession workstations.
- IKI technology upgrades at existing checkouts.
- World Duty Free Group technology upgrade and new furniture design.
- First Group Rail company technology upgrade to new ticketing system and chip and PIN implementation recommendations for layout and best practice.
- Ralph Lauren incorporation of new tablet technology at the cashpoint to ensure accessibility and usability.
- Boots express checkouts during technology upgrade and furniture modification.
Health, Safety and Welfare Ergonomics
Our team works to look after the health, safety and welfare of your employees. Our health and safety ergonomic specialists can help identify causes of ill health at work and investigate problems related to the use of equipment, work processes and the broader work environment.
Our ergonomists will:
- Undertake workstation risk assessments
- Use appropriate anthropometric data to ensure that workstations and equipment are accessible (reach distances, work heights) and adhere to good ergonomic principles.
- Measure environmental factors (eg ambient lighting and noise levels) to ensure requirements are met and are appropriate for intended work tasks.
- Increase the efficacy of health and safety interventions at work
- Reduce absenteeism
- Increased acceptance of interventions by employees
- Consultations with in-house health and safety employees to ensure goals and targets are established and met.
- Evaluate current practices and identify any additional ergonomic risks.
- Spend time on-site to learn and assess intended work practices; then observe actual work practices, obtain feedback from experienced operators, look for hazards, and assess the overall hazards and potential for injury.
- Evaluate implemented control measures and identify any areas that need improvement.
- Provide recommendations for best practice, advice to carry out recommendations made and make ergonomic adjustment to work practices and equipment.
- Provide training recommendations and information to ensure employees understand basics and benefits of adhering to ergonomics principles.
- National Express – installation of PEDs on coach fleet
- Sainsbury’s use of new delicatessen cool cases
- B&Q assess efficacy of documented work methods and provide recommendations to reduce manual handling of loads at the new POS checkout.
Download or request the latest whitepapers written about ergonomics
Ergonomics is a vital component of retail with an objective of ensuring employees can perform their jobs effectively, safely and comfortably.
Ergonomics of touchscreens
Pin placement at the point of sale
Ergonomic research and recommendations on how and where to position Chip & Pin terminals at the point of sale.
An Explanation of the VESA mounting standard for flat panel monitors.
Summary of the ISO standard; Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs).
Ergonomic Recommendations For Work At VDT Workstations
Ergonomic recommendations for VDTs and other IT peripherals within the workplace.
Download The Ergonomics of Tablet Use in Business Applications