Football fever surrounding England's chances in Euro 2000 are putting a strain on the poor supermarket checkout worker, say legal firm Berrymans Lace Mawer.

They warn that party-sized packs of snacks and larger being bought by armchair football supporters present a serious occupational hazard to supermarket staff.

Till operators they point out, could suffer back, shoulder and neck injuries as they manhandle these goods for scanning at the checkout.

Berrymans say research suggests checkout workers are already at risk from aches and pains caused by lifting heavy packages.

The Health and Safety Executive advise a seated man should not attempt to lift more five kilograms and a woman three, (a kilogram is equal to a bag of sugar).

The amount is less if the manoeuvre involves twisting. But a 24 pack of larger can weigh up to 12 kilograms - or, nearly three times the recommended maximum.

They say supermarket bosses should look again at their risk assessment guidelines to forestall possible claims.

Fiona Chiasson, an insurance lawyer at Berrymans Lace Mawer, says: "Since the weight of single items available from supermarkets has increased, employers must now look to revising their methods to accommodate these changes."

Hand held scanners, or scanning lists of barcodes instead of the heavy items themselves could provide a solution.