" DISCLAIMER: The ILO does not take responsibility for content presented on this web portal that is presented in any language other than English, which is the language used for the initial production and peer-review of original content."

Friday, 28 October 2011 16:40

Case Study: US NIOSH Studies of Injuries among Grocery Order Selectors

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studied lifting and other related injuries at two grocery warehouses (referred to hereafter as “Warehouse A” and “Warehouse B”) (NIOSH 1993a; NIOSH 1995). Both warehouses have engineered standards against which order selector performance is measured; those who fall below their standard are subject to disciplinary action. The data in table 1 are expressed in percentages of order selectors only, reporting either all injuries or back injuries alone each year.

Table 1. Back and all reported workplace injuries and illnesses involving order selectors at two grocery warehouses studied by NIOSH, 1987-1992.

Year

Warehouse A: all injuries (%)

Warehouse B: all injuries (%)

Warehouse A: back injuries only (%)

Warehouse B: back injuries only (%)

1987

79

N/A

28

N/A

1988

88

N/A

31

N/A

1989

87

62

39

21

1990

81

62

31

31

1991

52

83

28

29

1992

N/A

86

N/A

17

Sources: NIOSH 1993a, 1995.

At the risk of generalizing these data beyond their context, by any reckoning, the magnitude of recordable injury and illness percentages in these warehouses are quite significant and considerably higher than the aggregate data for the industry as a whole for all job classifications. While the total injuries at Warehouse A show a slight decline, they actually increase at Warehouse B. But the back injuries, with the exception of 1992 at Warehouse B, are both quite stable and significant. In general terms, these data suggest that order selectors have virtually a 3 in 10 chance of experiencing a back injury involving medical treatment and/or lost time in any given year.

The US National Association of Grocery Warehouses of America (NAGWA), an industry group, reported that back strains and sprains accounted for 30% of all injuries involving grocery warehouses and that one-third of all warehouse workers (not just order selectors) will experience one recordable injury per year; these data are consistent with the NIOSH studies. Moreover, they estimated the cost of paying for these injuries (workers’ compensation primarily) at $0.61 per hour for the 1990-1992 period (almost US$1,270 per year per worker). They also determined that manual lifting was the primary cause of back injuries in 54% of all cases studied.

In addition to a review of injury and illness statistics, NIOSH utilized a questionnaire instrument which was administered to all grocery order selectors. At Warehouse A, of the 38 full-time selectors, 50% reported at least one injury in the last 12 months, and 18% of full-time selectors reported at least one back injury in the previous 12 months. For Warehouse B, 63% of the 19 full-time selectors reported at least one recordable injury in the last 12 months, and 47% reported having at least one back injury in the same period. Seventy per cent of full-time workers at Warehouse A reported significant back pain in the previous year, as did 47% of the full-time selectors at Warehouse B. These self-reported data closely correspond with the injury and illness survey data.

In addition to reviewing injury data regarding back injuries, NIOSH applied its revised lifting equation to a sample of lifting tasks of order selectors and found that all the sampled lifting tasks exceeded the recommended weight limit by significant margins, which indicates the tasks studied were highly stressful from an ergonomic point of view. In addition, compressive forces were estimated on the L5/S1 vertebral disc; all exceeded the recommended biomechanical limits of 3.4 kN (kilonewtons), which has been identified as an upper limit for protecting most workers from the risk of low-back injury.

Finally, NIOSH, using both energy expenditure and oxygen consumption methodologies, estimated energy demand on grocery order selectors in both warehouses. Average energy demands of the order selector exceeded the established criterion of 5 kcal/minute (4 METS) for an 8-hour day, which is recognized as moderate to heavy work for a majority of healthy workers. At Warehouse A, the working metabolic rate ranged from 5.4 to 8.0 kcal/minute, and the working heart rate ranged from 104 to 131 beats per minute; at Warehouse B, it was 2.6 to 6.3 kcal/minute, and 138 to 146 beats per minute, respectively.

Order selectors’ energy demands from continuous lifting at a rate of 4.1 to 4.9 lifts per minute would probably result in fatigued muscles, especially when working shifts of 10 or more hours. This clearly illustrates the physiological cost of work in the two warehouses studied to date. In summing up its findings, NIOSH reached the following conclusion concerning the risks faced by grocery warehouse order selectors:

In summary, all order assemblers (order selectors) have an elevated risk for musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain, because of the combination of adverse job factors all contributing to fatigue, a high metabolic load and the workers’ inability to regulate their work rate because of the work requirements. According to recognized criteria defining worker capability and accompanying risk of low back injury, the job of order assembler at this work site will place even a highly selected work force at substantial risk of developing low back injuries. Moreover, in general, we believe that the existing performance standards encourage and contribute to these excessive levels of exertion (NIOSH 1995).

 

Back

Read 4129 times

Contents

Preface
Part I. The Body
Part II. Health Care
Part III. Management & Policy
Part IV. Tools and Approaches
Part V. Psychosocial and Organizational Factors
Part VI. General Hazards
Part VII. The Environment
Part VIII. Accidents and Safety Management
Part IX. Chemicals
Part X. Industries Based on Biological Resources
Part XI. Industries Based on Natural Resources
Part XII. Chemical Industries
Part XIII. Manufacturing Industries
Part XIV. Textile and Apparel Industries
Part XV. Transport Industries
Part XVI. Construction
Part XVII. Services and Trade
Education and Training Services
Emergency and Security Services
Entertainment and the Arts
Health Care Facilities and Services
Hotels and Restaurants
Office and Retail Trades
Personal and Community Services
Public and Government Services
Transport Industry and Warehousing
Air Transport
Road Transport
Rail Transport
Water Transport
Storage
Resources
Part XVIII. Guides

Transport Industry and Warehousing Additional Resources

Click the Button below to view additional resources for this topic.

button

Transport Industry and Warehousing References

American National Standards Institute (ANSI). 1967. Illumination. ANSI A11.1-1967. New York: ANSI.

Anton, DJ. 1988. Crash dynamics and restraint systems. In Aviation Medicine, 2nd edition, edited by J Ernsting and PF King. London: Butterworth.

Beiler, H and U Tränkle. 1993. Fahrerarbeit als Lebensarbeitsperpektive. In Europäische Forschungsansätze zur Gestaltung der Fahrtätigkeit im ÖPNV (S. 94-98) Bundesanstat für Arbeitsschutz. Bremerhaven: Wirtschaftsverlag NW.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 1996. Safety and Health Statistics. Washington, DC: BLS.

Canadian Urban Transit Association. 1992. Ergonomic Study of the Driver’s Workstation in Urban Buses. Toronto: Canadian Urban Transit Association.

Decker, JA. 1994. Health Hazard Evaluation: Southwest Airlines, Houston Hobby Airport, Houston, Texas. HETA-93-0816-2371. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

DeHart RL. 1992. Aerospace medicine. In Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 13th edition, edited by ML Last and RB Wallace. Norwalk, CT: Appleton and Lange.

DeHart, RL and KN Beers. 1985. Aircraft accidents, survival, and rescue. In Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine, edited by RL DeHart. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger.

Eisenhardt, D and E Olmsted. 1996. Investigation of Jet Exhaust Infiltration into a Building Located on John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport Taxiway. New York: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Division of Federal Occupational Health, New York Field Office.

Firth, R. 1995. Steps to successfully installing a warehouse management system. Industrial Engineering 27(2):34–36.

Friedberg, W, L Snyder, DN Faulkner, EB Darden, Jr., and K O’Brien. 1992. Radiation Exposure of Air Carrier Crewmembers II. DOT/FAA/AM-92-2.19. Oklahoma City, OK: Civil Aeromedical Institute; Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration.

Gentry, JJ, J Semeijn, and DB Vellenga. 1995. The future of road haulage in the new European Union—1995 and beyond. Logistics and Transportation Review 31(2):149.

Giesser-Weigt, M and G Schmidt. 1989. Verbesserung des Arbeitssituation von Fahrern im öffentlichen Personennahverkehr. Bremerhaven: Wirtschaftsverlag NW.

Glaister, DH. 1988a. The effects of long duration acceleration. In Aviation Medicine, 2nd edition, edited by J Ernsting and PF King. London: Butterworth.

—. 1988b. Protection against long duration acceleration. In Aviation Medicine, 2nd edition, edited by J Ernsting and PF King. London: Butterworth.

Haas, J, H Petry and W Schühlein. 1989. Untersuchung zurVerringerung berufsbedingter Gesundheitsrisien im Fahrdienst des öffentlichen Personennahverkehr. Bremerhaven; Wirtschaftsverlag NW.

International Chamber of Shipping. 1978. International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals. London: Witherby.

International Labour Organization (ILO). 1992. Recent Developments in Inland Transportation. Report I, Sectoral Activities Programme, Twelfth Session. Geneva: ILO.

—. 1996. Accident Prevention on Board Ship at Sea and in Port. An ILO Code of Practice. 2nd edition. Geneva: ILO.

Joyner, KH and MJ Bangay. 1986. Exposure survey of civilian airport radar workers in Australia. Journal of Microwave Power and Electromagnetic Energy 21(4):209–219.

Landsbergis, PA, D Stein, D Iacopelli and J Fruscella. 1994. Work environment survey of air traffic controllers and development of an occupational safety and health training program. Presented at the American Public Health Association, 1 November, Washington, DC.

Leverett, SD and JE Whinnery. 1985. Biodynamics: Sustained acceleration. In Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine, edited by RL DeHart. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger.

Magnier, M. 1996. Experts: Japan has the structure but not the will for intermodalism. Journal of Commerce and Commercial 407:15.

Martin, RL. 1987. AS/RS: From the warehouse to the factory floor. Manufacturing Engineering 99:49–56.

Meifort, J, H Reiners, and J Schuh. 1983. Arbeitshedingungen von Linienbus- und Strassenbahnfahrern des Dortmunder Staatwerke Aktiengesellschaft. Bremen- haven: Wirtschaftsverlag.

Miyamoto, Y. 1986. Eye and respiratory irritants in jet engine exhaust. Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine 57(11):1104–1108.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 1976. Fire Protection Handbook, 14th edition. Quincy, MA: NFPA.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 1976. Documented Personnel Exposures from Airport Baggage Inspection Systems. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 77-105. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

—. 1993a. Health Hazard Evaluation: Big Bear Grocery Warehouse. HETA 91-405-2340. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

—. 1993b. Alert: Preventing Homicide in the Workplace. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 93-108. Cincinatti, OH: NIOSH.

—. 1995. Health Hazard Evaluation: Kroger Grocery Warehouse. HETA 93-0920-2548. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

National Safety Council. 1988. Aviation Ground Operation Safety Handbook, 4th edition. Chicago, IL: National Safety Council.

Nicogossian, AE, CL Huntoon and SL Pool (eds.). 1994. Space Physiology and Medicine, 3rd edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger.

Peters, Gustavsson, Morén, Nilsson and Wenäll. 1992. Forarplats I Buss, Etapp 3; Kravspecifikation. Linköping, Sweden: Väg och Trafikinstitutet.

Poitrast, BJ and deTreville. 1994. Occupational medical considerations in the aviation industry. In Occupational Medicine, 3rd edition, edited by C Zenz, OB Dickerson, and EP Hovarth. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Register, O. 1994. Make Auto-ID work in your world. Transportation and Distribution 35(10):102–112.

Reimann, J. 1981. Beanspruchung von Linienbusfahrern. Untersuchungen zur Beanspruchung von Linienbusfahrern im innerstädtischen Verkehr. Bremerhaven: Wirtschafts-verlag NW.

Rogers, JW. 1980. Results of FAA Cabin Ozone Monitoring Program in Commercial Aircraft in 1978 and 1979. FAA-EE-80-10. Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Environment and Energy.

Rose, RM, CD Jenkins, and MW Hurst. 1978. Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study. Boston, MA: Boston University School of Medicine.

Sampson, RJ, MT Farris, and DL Shrock. 1990. Domestic Transportation: Practice, Theory, and Policy, 6th edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Streekvervoer Nederland. 1991. Chaufferscabine [Driver’s cabin]. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Streekvervoer Nederland.

US Senate. 1970. Air Traffic Controllers (Corson Report). Senate Report 91-1012. 91st Congress, 2nd Session, 9 July. Washington, DC: GPO.

US Department of Transportation (DOT). 1995. Senate Report 103–310, June 1995. Washington, DC: GPO.

Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen. 1996. Fahrerarbeitsplatz im Linienbus [Driver’s workstation in buses]. VDV Schrift 234 (Entwurf). Cologne, Germany: Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen.

Violland, M. 1996. Whither railways? OECD Observer No. 198, 33.

Wallentowitz H, M Marx, F Luczak, J Scherff. 1996. Forschungsprojekt. Fahrerarbeitsplatz im Linienbus— Abschlußbericht [Research project. Driver’s workstation in buses—Final report]. Aachen, Germany: RWTH.

Wu, YX, XL Liu, BG Wang, and XY Wang. 1989. Aircraft noise-induced temporary threshold shift. Aviation Space and Medicine 60(3):268–270.