Retail work can be physically demanding. Many retail employees handle thousands of items each day while stocking shelves, ringing up customers, unloading trucks and preparing food.
These tasks involve several ergonomic risk factors, including force, repetition and awkward and static postures. Tasks such as these can often lead to musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, trigger finger and back injuries.
Moving Heavy Merchandise
Proper lifting techniques can prevent injury. Share the following tips with employees who lift merchandise regularly.
- Before lifting merchandise, check the weight to avoid surprises.
- Turn your entire body at once, not just the waist.
- Keep the item close to your body.
- Keep your back straight.
- Use your leg muscles, not your back or arms.
- Use fluid, not jerky motions.
- Do not attempt to throw heavy objects to their landing place; instead get close to where you plan to set them down.
- Enlist the help of a co-worker if needed.
- Wear work gloves to protect your hands.
- Never stack materials above your head.
Standing for Long Periods of Time
Standing for long periods of time can put workers at risk for pain in their feet and joints. Share these tips with workers:
- Stand straight –avoid bending forward or backward, leaning to the side or twisting as much as possible.
- Place a foot on a footrest and alternate the leg that bears weight.
- Try to keep your neck as straight as possible and avoid twisting or bending forward, backward or to the side.
- Keep shoulders relaxed and neutral– not pulled up near your ears.
- Keep elbows tight to body and position work at elbow height.
- Avoid working with wrists pressed against sharp or hard edges.
- Utilize a sit/stand stool when possible.
- Keep your body positioned over the anti-fatigue mat to reduce back and leg fatigue.
- Stand as close to counters and other work surfaces as possible to avoid reaching.
- Take periodic breaks to sit and rest your muscles.
Ready to take your risk management to the next level? Contact us to find out how we can develop a program that's tailored to your specific needs.
Looking for additional ways to help keep your employees safe? Download our free Retail & Wholesale Employee Safety Manual for policies and procedures that support a safety-conscious work environment.