Getting sick or injured while out shopping at a retail establish is probably the last thing on someone’s mind in Colorado or anywhere around the country. Whether at small grocery store or large department store, customers expect to have a safe shopping experience at the establishment. Yet the very people who ensure that stores are clean, walkways are clear and shelves are appropriately stocked have a higher rate of employees who are injured at work than construction workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers can be hurt as they move products from trucks to various areas in a store. Those working at the checkout areas are not immune to injury either, as scanning and bagging items can cause issues. The most likely injuries to occurs are musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. Overexertion, contact with objects and equipment as well as falls are also cited as common on-the-job injuries in stores.
Advocates recommend that a focus on safety start from the top down. Upper management must demonstrate a commitment to corporate safety to create an environment where it is valued. Stores should consider routine inspections of the facility to assess potential hazards. Training needs to be an integral part of a safety program for all employees at every level.
Minimizing the number of times a product is handled is a key element in reducing injuries. Also, management may want to consider how stores are laid out and how equipment is used with ergonomics in mind. Regardless of the design of the facility and equipment or the safety processes that are written, the main component is the workforce. Focus by management should be on prevention, such as health and wellness programs. OSHA reports that these programs not only help reduce injury, but also improve production levels and employee loyalty.
Whether retail stores or any other industry, employees have a right to safe working environment. Even if businesses have a detailed safety program in place, it is still possible to be injured at work. When accidents or illnesses occur on the job, it would be wise to contact a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney. A dedicated lawyer will ensure that employees receive any benefits to which they are entitled and help them determine if they have grounds to pursue additional litigation against the employer.
Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, “Safety in store“, Joe Bush, Feb. 25, 2018