Tis the season … for injuries … for those who work in the retail sector.
Our office fields more workman’s compensation questions before and during the holiday season. This time of year results in more shopping, of course — which equates to longer store hours and the need for more staffing to accommodate those hours.
One area of retail work that can be rife with potential injury and workers’ compensation issues is what takes place in store aisles and backrooms to ensure that there is actually stuff to buy — the unpacking of inventory. It’s a function we don’t often think about. But it brings with it the risk of cuts and lacerations for retail employees, especially this time of year.
The environment around holiday shopping makes receiving and unpacking inventory more dangerous. Retail workers are rushing. They may have a customer waiting on an item in a sealed box or need something in a package that’s part of a corporate-mandated display. Add the fact that workers are using sharp implements such as a box cutters, and it can be a risky situation.
According to the National Safety Council, cuts/lacerations are among the top three injuries that sideline employees in the U.S.
Safety experts stress the importance of retail-industry training to prevent such injuries. Even a 15-minute employee mini-meeting on preventing the risk of cuts and lacerations is worthwhile.
Main points for retail managers to address
- Box cutters should be safely stored when not in use.
- Employees are expected to slow down and be careful when opening boxes.
- Employees are expected to wear properly fitting protective gloves when using box cutters.
- Scissors should not be used in place of box cutters.
- The box cutter blade should be pulled toward the worker, not pushed, when in use.
Preventative measures help retailers avoid workers’ compensation mediation and lawsuits, and help keep employees safe. They are the gift that keeps on giving!