» What Are the 6 Most Common Workplace Injuries for Retail Store Employees?

What Are the 6 Most Common Workplace Injuries for Retail Store Employees?

Hardware store worker gesturing towards assorted tools behind counter

Despite advancements in health and safety, there are still a large number of accidents that happen in the retail industry. From relatively minor workplace injuries to more serious ones, employees face a higher amount of risk working in retail. Sustaining an injury at work can not only impact an employee’s ability to work but it can also put a strain on a store’s productivity and revenue.

Retail store workers perform many strenuous tasks during their shifts: lifting, carrying, twisting and bending and stretching their necks and arms to stock products on the floor. Turning quickly and shifting their weight as cashiers stand and perform work at the tills, these repetitive actions can put a tremendous strain on the body. 

In this article, we are going to discuss the most common workplace injuries retail store employees will likely encounter. Continue reading for a refresher on how to prevent serious injuries and accidents in your shop with tips from Shoes For Crews.

Retail store assistant stocking fruit in produce section at supermarket

1. Handling, lifting or carrying

Manual handling injuries are still surprisingly widespread in the retail industry today. These types of accidents pose a greater risk for employees to develop back and knee problems if not treated properly. In order to prevent these types of injuries, it is vital for management to implement proper training in safe manual handling and lifting methods. This includes making employees aware of the dangers of poor handling techniques and disciplining failures to comply, particularly compliance with RIDDOR.

2. Falls from height

Supermarkets are filled with tall shelving units and at times, hard-to-reach products. The movement and storage of goods are almost constant in retail settings. In order to perform their jobs, employees require the correct equipment to enable them to reach such difficult spaces.

Wearing footwear with proper tread and traction will greatly help reduce the risk of falls off ladders or other work equipment. At Shoes For Crews, we are always testing and improving the superior grip of our slip-resistant outsoles to help wearers prevent workplace injuries they could encounter from falling from height. 

3. Hit by a falling object

Objects that sit on the shelves inside B&Q, Wickes, Homebase or in other warehouses have the potential to shift or become loose at any moment. Protective headwear or hard hats are necessary to help prevent any potential workplace injuries that could occur. 

In fast-paced environments such as supermarkets and retail shops, heavy objects and moving pieces can be found all over these establishments. Remind employees to always be aware of their surroundings and what is above them, especially if they are stocking shelves. Make sure all safety procedures are being followed and that staff are wearing the correct protective gear to help prevent accidents before they happen.

Butcher operating heavy machinery at a counter wearing slip-resistant safety shoes

4. Cuts and lacerations

It is critical to inspect machinery that needs to be updated or anything that has not been evaluated in a while. Machinery must be well-maintained to ensure proper function and precision. The retail industry relies on only a few relatively large machines to carry out day-to-day tasks such as loading and unloading merchandise and organising goods on the floor.

One of the major risks when operating heavy machinery is the potential to get cut on a sharp edge. Another could be failure to measure a safe distance between one’s fingers and any blades, openings or closures. Proper footwear and safety wear such as goggles, gloves and ear plugs can help prevent any potential workplace injuries revolving around machinery.

5. Slips and trips

Slips and trips are serious workplace injuries and can lead to major health complications. Slips, trips and falls account for 30% of all non-fatal workplace injuries in the UK. Retailers who stock large quantities of liquid products, such as Screwfix, Homebase, and those that receive a high amount of foot traffic can face a higher risk. 

Slippery surfaces caused by accidental spillage or leakage do pose a danger but managers also need to be aware of the potential damage to the store’s flooring. Uneven floors and other trip hazards could result in an increase in workplace injuries at supermarkets and retail shops. Wearing properly cushioned, slip-resistant footwear at all times will also greatly prevent any potential falls caused by wet floors or spilled liquids.

6. Repetitive sprains and strains

Scanning large shopping purchases, running price checks, typing and organising inventory are just a few of the many repetitive tasks supermarket employees face on a regular basis. These types of strains are also known as RSIs. Ergonomic workplace injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back pain can all occur when a repetitive strain gets exacerbated for a continuous period of time.

Encourage employees to take periodic breaks to vary their standing or sitting positions to help them maintain proper posture. They can also stretch before their shift starts and keep an eye on their own personal activity so as to not overexert themselves during their shifts. Evaluating the quality of their work shoes and other equipment is another key step in helping to prevent muscle strains on the job.

At Shoes For Crews, we are fully committed to providing high-quality, slip-resistant footwear for retail store employees. We understand that the primary way to protect your team is to prevent workplace injuries before they happen. That is why it is important to periodically review the essential best practices to implement in supermarkets to promote a safe environment for both employees and customers. Most safety hazards and potential accidents can be prevented by following proper precautions and being aware of the dangers inside retail stores.

If your retail employees are in need of an upgrade of their current workwear, we encourage you to check out these 5 innovative styles by Shoes For Crews. Our styles work well on all types of surfaces and they are suitable for many different positions from large supermarkets to small retail shops. To learn more about specific features and styles, contact our experts. Or download our Buyers Guide to view our full range of footwear solutions.

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