Hopefully COVID-19 is no longer as much of an issue, because that was a big problem for many retail workers who had to stay face-to-face with the potentially infected public. But even if the coronavirus is not much of a problem, retail workers still face some safety issues.
Yes, retail employees get injured too
In 2016, the Bureau of Labor found the most reported injury for retail was overexertion, followed by contact with objects and/or people. Slips, trips and falls are the third most common cause of harm.
Surprisingly, retail workers have a higher incidence of injury and illness than construction workers do! The more incidents you have, the higher your worker’s comp costs will be. Not to mention the cost of hiring replacement workers.
Many injuries can be prevented by engineering for ergonomics. For example, Walmart redesigned their checkout carousels to avoid putting their cashiers at risk from thousands of repetitive motions each day.
However, retail workers need to be trained on safety as well. Don’t forget to include training for part-time workers and seasonal hires.
Retail safety operations often focus on front of house operations, to keep both workers and customers safe. But what about the back of the house?
Slips, trips and falls
Just as in the store your employees are careful to tape down any cords and put out signs warning of a wet floor, your warehouse or storage area needs the same care for the workers back there.
Move items out of the way in common usage areas, and return things to storage when they’re no longer needed.
Your back-of-the-house employees might not be in front of a computer or cash register, but they still need to make sure that they’re positioned properly too.
Many retailers use folding tables in their receiving and packing processes. But they’re designed for sitting, so workers who need to stand end up hunched over. Which is bad for the back, as you can imagine.
Slide on a set of folding table risers to lift the work surface to the right height – problem solved! Employees can now stand straight to do the work, plus you don’t have to buy any new tables or equipment.
It’s also important that workers don’t have far to reach for commonly used equipment. That can also result in soft tissue damage, which is hard to recover from (and can be expensive from the company’s point of view too.)
Employees that are moving around a lot, as is typical in the back of the house, need to stay hydrated. If your air-conditioning system back there isn’t as robust as the one you use to keep clients cool, make sure you’ve got fans to help keep the temperature reasonable.
If they’re lifting heavy loads, make sure they have tools to avoid straining their backs. For example, they may need access to a loader or even just another colleague for a two-person lift.
Sometimes it seems cheaper to have one person handling these duties. But OSHA recordables, worker’s comp claims and finding new workers to replace the injured one are much more expensive in the long run.
Need to save your workers’ backs while they’re at a folding table? Check out our full line of folding table risers at our online store.
Lift Your TableⓇ… SAVE YOUR BACK!