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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.

Retail baggers (sometimes called packers, sackers, or bag boys) seem to have a pretty safe job, but it comes with its own workplace safety hazards. If you think about it, the job requires a lot of heavy lifting and body movement to put items into a bag and cart at a high rate of speed.

Workplace injury risks for retail baggers

Whether you are a retail employee or retail manager/owner, it is important to understand how to avoid workplace injury. The repetitive, laborious movement required to bag items can lead to back pain, sprains, strains, and soreness, which fall under the category of musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones

If you are not the owner or manager of your retail outlet, be sure to speak with your employers about consulting an ergonomics expert to go over your workstation. The following OSHA approved tips are just a few adjustments every retail bagger should request to work in comfort.

3 Ergonomics Tips for Retail Baggers

1. Use bags with handles

Baggers should be using bags that have handles. Handles will make it less stressful to the body to carry and are overall easier to manage.

2. Keep everything within easy reach

Installing adjustable-height bag stands is a great way to keep bags within easy reach. Hours and hours of extended reach can take a toll on the body, the top of a plastic bag should be just below the conveyor belt height.

3. Use shopping carts wisely

Keep the shopping cart close to you, this will make it easier to load the cart and help you avoid injury from repetitive, extended reaches. If you need to carry items outside, always use the cart as a long day of heavy lifting will eventually take its toll on the body.

In conclusion

While it may not seem very strenuous to lift a bag and place it into a cart, after repeating this same action for long hours it can start to take its toll. Be sure your workplace is making use of these tips for the safety of all employees.

For professional, ergonomics guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

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