From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Beverage Delivery


Zak Figura, S., August 1996, Reducing the Risks of Material Handling, Occupational Hazards.

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

Workers unload cases of soda cans and bottles from trucks, carting them to and stacking them on a customer’s premises.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Verified Hazard)

NIOSH recommended weight limit lifting criteria was exceeded for most lifting tasks.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

An injury and illness rate of 18.5 per 100 full-time workers put the industry among the top 12 for injury frequency and top 5 for severity according to NIOSH studies.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

An average lift of 34,000 pounds each day was performed by each worker.

Lifting of up to 45,000 pounds a day might have been required for some workers because of case content inequities.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Extended reach is required by delivery workers to unload the trucks.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

Pullout steps, external handles and multilevel shelving have been installed in delivery trucks to make access to beverage cases easier.

Counterbalancing devices have been added to improve hand truck stability.

Beverage cartons have been redesigned for easier handling.
The total weight was decreased by substituting plastic for some glass containers.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

Reduced risk factor exposure.

Employee satisfaction.

Improved physical and psychological comfort.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

Quantitative tests of heart rate, stress/fatigue levels and discomfort reports showed statistically significant improvements in physical and psychological comfort, providing scientific justification for the changes.