Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)
“ In 2006, approximately 820,500 injuries and 581 fatalities occurred among the 21 million retail workers in the United States” Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You may be surprised to learn how much retail jobs carry the risk of workplace injury. In 2006, retail work had a disproportionate amount of work injures, “approximately 820,500 injuries and 581 fatalities occurred among the 21 million retail workers in the United States” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One of the major injury risks for retail workers is musculoskeletal disorders, which includes back pain, sprains, strains, and soreness.
Injury usually occurs when the workspace ergonomics have not been properly assessed to avoid injury.
Whether you are a retail employee or retail manager/owner, it is important to understand how to avoid workplace injury. This blog will provide OSHA approved guidance for retail checkers and cashiers, whom are just as at risk for injuries as stockers or truck unloaders.
1. Understand your best work zone
Your best work zone should allow you to work in comfort and avoid injury. OSHA provides an illustration of where the best and preferred work zones are located:
2. Ring up items with proper equipment
Investing in the proper equipment will pay off in the long term with less injury and time off for employees.
To begin with, use a powered in-feed conveyor and place it as close as possible to the cashier to avoid having to lean or reach outside of their best work zone. Use a “sweeper” to move items on the conveyor within the checker’s reach. OSHA recommends that you set scanners and conveyers all at the same height, so that items can be easily slid across instead of having to lift each item.
3. Ensure your check stand is ergonomically sound
Keep everything in the right place. For example, locate commonly used items such as the cash drawer, printer, and keyboard within easy reach. Use a platform or install an adjustable check stand to match the height of the cashier’s waist. The cash register display should be slightly below eye level and a front facing check stand is recommended to reduce twisting motions or long reaching.
Rest and comfort options are important at the check stand. Foot rests and anti-fatigue mats are great for a cashier’s feet. Adjust the check stand height to match the cashier’s waist height or use a platform.
An adjustable sit/stand will give employees the option to lean or sit, which provides some lower back relief.
Over time, the repetitive tasks of retail work can take a toll on your body. If you are an employee, owner, or manager of a retail store, consider contacting an ergonomics consultant for more detailed options.
Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Kent, Renton, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.