Ergonomic investigation of letter-carrier satchels: Part I. Field study

Patrick G. Dempsey, M. M. Ayoub, Tracey M. Bernard, Mica R. Endsley, Waldemar Karwowski, C. Joe Lin, James L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A field study was conducted to compare four satchels designed for the purposes of manually carrying and delivering mail. The satchels differed primarily in the presence/absence of a waist belt, the number and design of the shoulder strap(s) and the number of pouches. The evaluation consisted of questionnaires and interviews of slightly more than 300 letter carriers employed by the United States Postal Service. The questionnaires focused on 10 main areas of interest; ease of adjustability and handling, comfort, suitability and durability of materials, anthropometric applications, impact on other activities, ease of motion in retrieving mail, ease of motion in carrying the satchel, versatility of use in diverse climates, protection of mail from damage due to rain and snow, and defense against dog attacks. The primary conclusion was that the satchel with two shoulder straps and two pouches, which results in more symmetric loading than the other satchels, is the most desirable of the satchels tested. However, there are problems with the satchel that need to be addressed, such as concerns about the use of the satchel for defense from dog attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996


  • Mail carriage
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Satchel design


Dive into the research topics of 'Ergonomic investigation of letter-carrier satchels: Part I. Field study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this