Work Smart. Work Safe.
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Retailing the right way

By Jay Zacharopoulos

When someone says “workplace safety” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A majority of people would say something like construction machinery, heavy drilling or forklift operations. But this week we are going to broaden the safety spectrum and take a look at the rights and rules of retail, an industry which some of us may not always think about first when considering safety.

Retail jobs may appear not to be physically strenuous to those of us who have never worked these types of jobs, but don’t kid yourself, the risk of accident and injuries is there – just like it is in all jobs.

All employees have the right to proper training, supervision, safety equipment and to refuse unsafe work. The responsibility of maintaining a safe workplace is shared between employees and employers.

Employees should always:

  • Know and follow safety requirements relevant to the job.
  • Ask for training.
  • Encourage co-workers to work safely
  • Correct or report any unsafe conditions immediately.

Employers should always:

  • Provide a safe workplace.
  • Ensure all employees are properly trained.
  • Provide adequate health and safety services.
  • Take immediate action when potential hazards are discovered.

Injuries resulting from slips and falls are a major danger to retail workers. It is important to wear strong, comfortable footwear with non-slip soles. Report all hazardous situations such as spills, piled debris or uneven flooring. Just because you know it’s there doesn’t mean your co-workers do. Ensure the hazard is dealt with for everyone’s benefit.

Ergonomics is another retail danger. Use proper lifting techniques by keeping a straight back and using your leg muscles as much as possible. Storing popular materials in an easy-to-access place is a great way to steer clear of muscle soreness. Should you feel any numbness, tingling or pain inform your supervisor – a small change can make a big difference and prevent injury. Mixing in a 30 second micro-break every 20 minutes to stretch and allow your body a chance to change positions is another great way to stay injury free.

Last, but not least, always make sure you are educated on your workplace’s safety procedures. You should know where all PPE and materials are located, when to use them and how to use them. Wear proper, comfortable clothing for your daily tasks and never shy away from asking questions or educating those in danger. If one person is in danger, everyone is. Work smart, work safe.

One Response to “Retailing the right way”

  1. Proper footwear is key for any service industry employee whether they work in retail or food service. Not only will non-slip soles aid in the prevention of slipping – strong and comfortable footwear is needed for proper support as most of these employees are on their feet for extended periods of time.


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