3 Essential Safety Issues Retail Businesses Need to Know

Hazards exist in any workplace, including retail businesses. By identifying any hazards that are most likely to impact safety at the retail workplace, companies will be better prepared to eliminate them, thereby preventing accidents, injuries, downtime, and property damage that could cost the company a lot of money.

The dynamics of retail operations consist of a complicated web of activity. Machines, minds, individuals, and technologies must all work together as the controlled chaos in the retail enterprise moves forward. To keep the business running smoothly, the company must remain on a safe and productive path.

safety retail

Here are three essential safety issues retail businesses need to know.

  • Heavy Lifting

The retail industry consists of various businesses, from supermarkets to clothing stores and garden centres. Most of the tasks conducted in retail require people to carry out different forms of work activity. Sometimes, it requires a worker to manually lift heavy loads.

Manual handling is conducted in every workplace and does not pose a problem in most cases. However, it’s worth noting that manual handling can be a potential hazard since the activity will sometimes require a worker to carry or lift extremely heavy loads. Therefore, there is a need for the retail sector to address the risk of injuries that manual handling can cause. Offering manual lifting training to workers directly involved in these tasks is highly recommended. 

The specific courses in health and safety are necessary to raise awareness and reduce risk in the workplace, although it will not necessarily guarantee safe manual handling on its own. Companies must design the manual handling operations to be as safe as possible and reasonably practicable. They must also monitor and review procedures to ensure that workers understand them and apply them at work. The training must be relevant to the type of work being carried out and should cover topics like the risk factors involved in manual handling and how injuries could happen. It will also discuss the proper use of mechanical aids and how to perform safe manual handling, including good handling practices.

Businesses must also conduct a review of the current workplace activities. These reviews can help them assess how work is carried out and identify potential issues with manual handling. During the assessment, they should consider the task, how heavy the load is, the working environment, and the worker’s capabilities. It’s also important to assess the level of risks for each task. There are risk assessment tools to help businesses identify high-risk handling operations.

  • Back Issues at Checkout

As an employer, you are responsible for protecting your workers from the risks of developing back pain resulting from work-related tasks. Repetitive movements, heavy lifting, and sitting back all day at a desk are often the main reasons behind back pain at work. Back pain can come in different forms. Some people suffer from sharp and stabbing pain, while others encounter dull and achy pain, making it difficult to concentrate at work. Unfortunately, many workers in the retail sector are often at high risk of developing back pain at work. 

There are many things that employers and workers can do to minimise back pain at work. Employers should protect their workers by encouraging them to avoid performing work activities that could lead to back pain. In cases where the activity cannot be prevented, employers should conduct a necessary assessment to minimise back pain risks. They should consult their workers, and if they identify any safety and health concerns, they should immediately address them.

Several factors could lead to back pain at work. Usually, it can happen if the worker lifts heavy or bulky loads, carry loads in an awkward position, manually handles tasks in awkward places, and performs repetitive tasks. Moreover, exerting too much force on the back can cause back injury, especially when lifting or moving heavy objects. An inactive desk job is also one of the most common reasons for back pain, especially for those with poor posture and who sit all day in a chair with no adequate back support. 

The first step that employers should take to reduce back pain risk at the workplace is to assess and identify which activities can cause pain in the back and decide whether these can be changed or avoided. Make sure you also ask your workers for input. Remember, they have first-hand knowledge of the work, so they can suggest changes to minimise the risk of back pain. 

  • Slips and Trips

Slipping and tripping are some of the most common causes of workplace injuries. On average, they cause about 40% of all reported major injuries and may lead to serious accidents, such as falling from height. Employers should be able to implement proper measures at work to prevent slips and trips. According to the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers must ensure the health and safety of all their employees and anyone who might be affected by their work. This includes taking the necessary steps to minimise the risks of slipping and tripping. 

The first step is for employers to conduct a risk assessment and decide whether they are doing enough to prevent them. Risk assessment is taking sensible approaches to control the risks of injuries at work. An example is to use a doormat to prevent rainwater from getting in that could make the floor slippery. 

Perhaps, you are already taking steps to keep your employees protected from slipping and tripping. But your risk assessment will tell you if you need to be doing more. Consider which tasks in the workplace could lead to slipping or tripping injuries and think of suitable and effective control measures to prevent these accidents

Make sure you put these control measures into practice. Focus on the real risks – those most likely to cause injuries. Think of how accidents could happen and who could be harmed. First, ask your employees what they think are the hazards since they might be able to identify things that you won’t be able to. They also might be able to suggest ideas on how to control these risks.