The retail industry might be one of the safer industries in which to work, but this doesn’t mean that workers don’t face some hazards. In fact, there are many issues that come with these jobs that might not be immediately recognized. Instead, some people assume that they don’t need to follow safety rules because they feel like they aren’t facing immediate danger.
Paying attention to everything going on around them and working to make things as safe as possible can help everyone. Employers must do their part because they can’t place the liability on the employees. Still, everyone will need to play a role in the safety plan.
- Keep the floors clean. Slips, trips and falls can lead to employee or customer injuries. Spills should be cleaned immediately. If that isn’t possible, signage should warn people about them. Cords must not be strewn about the floor and anything that falls should be picked up promptly.
- Use caution with sharp objects. Some retail workers, including stockers, might have to use box cutters and other sharp tools. Using proper procedures can help to prevent cuts. Workers should be shown the proper ways to use these tools and should always put them up with the blade secure and covered.
- Practice safety around equipment. Forklifts and pallet jacks have an important role in the retail industry. People who use these machines should be trained and certified on their use. When there are others around, a spotter is necessary, especially if they are working in the public locations of the store.
- Focus on body mechanics. Cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain, are fairly common in retail. Stretching and using proper body mechanics can help to alleviate these injuries. Additionally, workers should seek medical care at the first sign that something is amiss since these injuries get worse as time progresses.
- Control the stress. Many workers, an estimated 25 percent, note that work is their top source of stress. It isn’t easy to reduce stress associated with work. Employers might be able to reduce employee stress by providing them with appropriate tools for their job duties and a predictable schedule.
When retail employees are injured, they might need to seek benefits from workers’ compensation. The benefits from this program cover medical expenses, and sometimes provide partial wage replacement and related benefits to workers who qualify for them.