We all know that hazards exist on every place. However, when we consider the retail industry in regards to the potential for health and safety hazards, astonishingly many of us might not thought about the possible WHS problems that could occur. This may be because when we talk about the retail industry, the first thing that comes to our mind is shops, showrooms, departmental stores, and malls.
Though unknown to many, the dynamic of the retail operation is really a combination of complicated processes. Human mind and body, intellect, machines, individuals, and technologies all come together to work in symphony as per the plans and arrangements.
What matters the most is, how can we maintain balance and ensure the coordination among all these factors to health and safety goals and targets? The appropriate response will be “effective risk assessment, positive safety and health culture and WHS management system”.
Some of the issues that need to be addressed in the retail industry are:
Overexertion Injuries: Manual handling activities can cause a non-impact or blunt trauma, which might occur as a result of excessive physical effort. This can be one of the major causes of the inflammation of joints and ligaments. Excessive physical effort can affect people in different ways, for some it may cause little or no pain or discomfort and for some it may be debilitating.
Manual Lifting and Handling: Manual handling activities like improper lifting, pushing, pulling, lowering and twisting can cause strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal problems to a person. Limited or no training for manual handing and lifting, improper lifting techniques, physical constrains, pre-existing medical conditions and other related issues can contribute to potential risks and hazards.
Slip and Trip Hazard: Slip and trip hazard is one of the most common hazards in the retail industry. Employees and customers both have risk of fall due to trips and slips, and this can be avoided with good housekeeping, diligent supervision, maintenance, and proactive monitoring
Stress: Stress at work can occur when the requirements of the job do not match the job description, or available resources. Stress is an issue for safety as person under stress is not focused on their work and this can increase the risk of getting involved in an incident.
Being Struck by or Against: Struck by or struck against any object or structure is also one of the common hazards and the severity of the injury is based on the velocity of the impact; the characteristics of the object and the body part affected by the physical impact.
Knives, Box Cutters, and Other Sharp tools: Knives and box cutters are the most common tools used in retail business making them one of the most common hazards at various work places like shops, supermarkets, provision stores and restaurants. Adequate training like hands and fingers safety awareness training can prevent such incidents.
Forklifts and Pallet trucks: Forklifts and pallet trucks can eliminate the need for manual lifting but still it can have the potential for other injuries like collision of such machinery/equipment.
Workplace Violence: Workplace violence means either a mental or physical abuse or threat of physical violence, abuse, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening and disruptive behaviour that occurs in the workplace. In retail business many people are involved. There is equal risk for the effects of workplace violence for employees, clients, contractors, customers and other visitors. Nonetheless how it displays itself, workplace violence is an increasing concern for employers and employees nationwide.
Workplace Bullying: Workplace bullying means persistent, unreasonable actions directed towards a subordinate or co-workers which is intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine the employee/worker. This creates a risk to the health or safety of the employees in the retail industry.
Health and safety is a value and cannot be only considered as a plan or a program. It must be perceived as a state of belief, attitude, behaviour and high level of commitment by the all levels of management. Retail industry has to understand the basic principles of health and safety. They are required to follow WHS Management system. Employees need to attend WHS training.
WHS training to all the levels of employees including Supervisors, Managers, Technicians and all workers is necessary for the awareness and enhancing the behaviour-based safety and health programs.
WHS and Training Compliance Solutions Pty Ltd offering online and onsite training to assist workplaces competency in regards to WHS. Some of our courses are:
- Fatigue Management
- WHS for Managers and Supervisors
- WHS Committees
- Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid
- Workplace Resilience
- Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Contact us for further info on our WHS and Mental Health First Aid training courses.