Occupational Hazards in RetailMay 2, 2018
The last time you stopped at your local supermarket, Home Depot, or Costco, it is unlikely that you encountered any serious hazards. That’s because the employees at these establishments work very hard to keep their floors clean and dry, their walkways clear, and their shelves neatly stocked and organized.
Unfortunately, this can be very physical work, involving a lot of heavy lifting, climbing, and contact with heavy equipment. As a result, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail industry workers had a higher combined injury illness rate than the construction industry in 2016.
One of the most common workplace injuries in the retail industry is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), followed by overexertion and contact with objects. Slips, trips, and falls are the third most common cause of injuries in retail workers.
In order to reduce these hazards, management must make safety a top priority. According to the Director of Health and Safety at XPS Logistics, when there is a lack of commitment to protecting the safety of the employees, it sends a message that making money is more important than ensuring a safe work environment.
Importance of Employee Training Programs
An effective safety program begins with strategic training programs that focus on the employee’s specific job responsibilities. The program should include annual refresher training sessions that would address any new or updated safety protocols. In addition, monthly inspections of the store should take place, as well as daily inspections of high frequency or high severity areas.
A Walmart safety consultant says that the leading source of retail employee injuries is material handling, so the processes must be as efficient as possible.
In addition, proper ergonomics can help prevent certain injuries that result from handling equipment and using incorrect lifting techniques.
By making certain changes to the design of equipment, retail employees may be less likely to become injured. For example, installing a Lazy Susan for bagging can make an eight-hour shift much less taxing on the body than if a cashier had to constantly reach for bags. There are also other design modifications that can help lower the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Positive Workplace Culture
Research supports the idea that a positive, supportive culture has a direct impact on employee well-being and productivity. For example, according to one study, a company that offered a wellness program to their employees saw a $1.65 return on investment for every $1.00 spent on health and wellness.
Other injury and illness prevention programs have been shown to not only reduce injuries, but also increase employee loyalty, and improve production.
Injury prevention also involves architects, construction, human resources, and other stakeholders in an organization. Prevention strategies must be proactive, including selecting the right flooring, as well as floor-cleaning strategies that will make the surface more slip-resistant. Outdoor lighting, snow removal, and prompt repair of broken sidewalks are other examples of proactive approaches that can prevent common slip and fall accidents.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Retail Workers
If you work in the retail industry and have been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. You are entitled to a safe work environment and if you’ve been injured on the job, we will seek the maximum Workers’ Compensation benefits you deserve, including lost wages, medical expenses, and any other costs related to your injury. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.