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3 Ergonomics Tips for Retail Cashiers

3 Ergonomics Tips for Retail Cashiers

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

3 Ergonomics Tips for Retail Cashiers

“ 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.Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

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:

Best Work Zone

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.

In Conclusion

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.

Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: How to use your mouse in comfort
“Evidence suggests that about 3% of women and 2% of men will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome during their lifetime…” – The New York Times 

No matter how well a workstation is set up, repetitive work with a mouse may still lead to workplace injury if you do not properly care for your hand.

Whether you work in an office or need to use a mouse for industrial or retail work, you’ve noticed that overusing the mouse doesn’t feel very good. But if your job requires you to use a mouse, then what are your options to avoid pain or workplace injuries such as repetitive stress injury (RSI)?

Be sure you’re placing your hand on the mouse properlyErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Injury can often occur when one doesn’t properly use a work tool. When using the mouse, it is important to keep the wrist and hand in a neutral position. The picture of the hand positioned in good form below reduces your risk of developing a cumulative trauma injury:

Don’t grip the mouse too tight

Improper grip puts you at risk for cumulative trauma injuries. When you are involved in prolonged or repetitive activities at your workstation, keeping the mouse gripped in your hand the whole time contracts the muscles without a break. Be sure to give your grip a break and grip the mouse softly, like it is a raw egg that you don’t want to crack.

Learn some stretches for your mouse hand

Beyond taking breaks every 10 minutes or so, try to break up the repetition with these 3 stretches our ergonomics experts have collected from the CCOHS:

how to grip a mouse ergonomics

1. Fist Stretch

Begin with your open hand (exhibit a) and make a fist with your thumb straight and not tucked under your fingers (exhibit b). Then, (exhibit c) slide your fingertips up the palm of your hand. Move the tips of your fingers to the base of your fingers and you should feel a stretch. Do not force this movement if something is painful.
Fist Stretch - Mouse

2. Prayer Hands

Sitting with your elbows on the desk and palms in prayer position, slowly lower your wrists to the table until you feel a stretch. Keep your palms together throughout the stretch. Hold 5 to 7 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Prayer Hand Stretch - Mouse

3. Wrist Bend

Grab your hand and hold your fingers, begin to slowly bend your wrist down until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times. Next, slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Wrist Bend Stretch - Mouse

Consider a Trackball Mouse

Another option is the ambidextrous trackball mouse. A trackball mouse, unlike a regular mouse, remains stationary and has a ball on its top or side. In addition to the ball, a trackball commonly has one or more buttons that work like mouse buttons. At Solutions Northwest Inc., we recommend trackballs with a ball in the center rather than the side to minimize the risk of thumb tendonitis. Read the guide about trackball mouse options on our blog.

In conclusion

Whatever you do, always remain proactive about your health in the workplace. 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, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

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Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: How to Work in Comfort and Avoid Workplace Injury
Ergonomics Tips: How to work in comfort

“A total of 5,190 workers died from a work-related injury in the U.S. in 2016, the highest annual figure since 2008. The fatal injury rate was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the highest since 2010.” BLS.gov

Whether you work in an industrial plant or retail store, it is important to understand how to avoid workplace injury. Musculoskeletal injuries such as, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and bone fractures can be the result of working in awkward positions instead of your best work zone.

In order to avoid injury, it is important to perform the majority of your work tasks in your best work zone.

What is your best work zone?

Your best work zone (sometimes called the “optimal zone,” “comfort zone,” or “hand shake zone”) is the zone (or area) in which you can perform your work task while maintaining a comfortable or neutral posture. Working in this zone is less likely to cause musculoskeletal injury because you won’t be straining in any awkward positions.Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created an illustration to show exactly where your preferred and best work zones are:

According to OSHA, “work is safest when lifting and reaching is performed in these zones. Working outside these work zones results in non-neutral postures that may increase the risk of injury. It is particularly important to perform heavy lifting tasks within the best work zone.”

In Conclusion

As you do your daily work, be sure that you are working in this best work zone. You can call it your “handshake zone” as an easy way to remember or print this blog out to be sure you’re working in your best work zone.

Additionally, if you work on a work bench, assembly line, or countertop that is not in your best work zone, then you should consult with your manager or supervisor about installing height-adjustable equipment to prevent workplace injury. You may want to refer your manager to an ergonomics expert for a workplace assessment as well.

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, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions Indoors
Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions While Indoors

“In 2010, 4,190 workers suffered from heat illness and 40 died from heat stroke and other related causes on the job,” Bureau of Labor Statistics

Each year, thousands of workers experience serious illnesses and injury due to hot working conditions. One may think only outdoor workers should be cautious of the heat, but many indoor workers are exposed to heat on the job too.

It is important that workers who are required to work in hot environments avoid overheating and other heat related injuries.

Who is at risk?

The obvious occupations that involve hot work environments would be a steel worker in a steel foundry or workers in a boiler room, but there are many jobs that involve high heat environments. For example, bakeries and commercial kitchens require work in high heat. Additionally, distribution warehouses and material handling industrial plants may involve high heat as well.

Other high heat environments include: iron foundries, nonferrous foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products factories, electrical utilities (particularly boiler rooms), confectioneries, commercial kitchens, laundries, food canneries, chemical plants, steam tunnels, and hazardous waste sites.

How do you know when you’re overheating on the job?

Working in hot conditions could lead to heat exhaustion, heat stress, heat cramps, and more. It is important to recognize the warning signs of heat related injury.

Here are a few symptoms to watch for according to the CDC: high body temperature, confusion, loss of coordination, hot/dry skin or profuse sweating, throbbing headaches, rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shallow breathing.

A few ergonomics tips to prevent heat related injury

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Whenever possible, it is recommended that an ergonomics expert be consulted to evaluate a worksite that is at high risk for heat related injury.

Along with proper air conditioning and air ventilation, employers should provide workers with break rooms that contain cool water and a place to rest. Workers should take turns taking water breaks, providing relief workers or extra workers will make this a more practical practice and will reduce the physical demands of being understaffed.

Foundrymag recommends “wearing light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton and avoiding non-breathing synthetic clothing.”

Additionally, newer workers should be eased in to working in hot environments. New employees should be exposed to hot work environments in stages, slowly becoming acclimated to the hot conditions over time.

In conclusion

Knowing the warning signs, along with plenty of rest and plenty of water is truly the key to avoiding heat related injury. For more depth and detail, contact one of our ergonomics experts for a consultation.

As always, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Renton, Kent, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)


Management Tips: Being a Boss vs Being Bossy
“50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” Gallup Poll 2015

Whether you’re a new manager or seasoned supervisor, it is important to know the difference between being the boss and just being plain bossy. The workplace can be a stressful place, there is no reason to contribute to your own stress or the stress of others on the job.

In fact, it will benefit your workplace productivity if you treat your staff right versus bossing them around just because you can.

Know the consequences of being a bad boss

The stats are in, “50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” according to Gallup. Poor leadership can create a poor working environment, which leads to employees fleeing the job. As a supervisor, admin, or owner, it is important you create a positive work environment for your subordinates.

According to 5Dynamics, “happy employees have been shown to be up to 20 percent more effective in the workplace than unhappy employees. The NY Times has indicated that both employees and managers are spending more and more time working in collaborative teams than working individually, showing the value of creating strong, positive team interactions.”

Give credit where credit is due

As a leader, it may be tempting to take credit for all of the work your team is doing, but if you don’t properly acknowledge your team’s hard work, then your success may not last very long.

Studies reveal that “79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses,” according to Forbes.

This means that lack of recognition is a huge deal. As the boss, it is important that your team knows that you appreciate and value them.  You play a large role in whether or not they stay with the company, a survey from Accenture shows the top reasons employees quit: “1) They don’t like their boss (31%), 2) A lack of empowerment (31%), 3) Internal politics (35%) and 4) LacErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.k of recognition (43%).”

The trick is to find passion in your work

Whether you work in an industrial plant, an office, or retail store, it is important to love what you do. You don’t have to have a dream job, you can start just by focusing on short term goals at work. Hustle to achieve goals, encourage team work and positive communication among your staff, and realize that if you put passion into your work, you will begin to love your work.

When you love what you do, it becomes easier to give credit to your team and lead by example. Your positivity as a leader will become infectious in the work place and you will find it much easier to create a happy staff, which we now know leads to a more productive work place.

In Conclusion

If you’re to be a good supervisor or great manager, it is in your best interest to keep your workers happy, for the good of your state of mind and for the good of the company. If you push your team around, over work them, or fail to recognize their hard work, then you will find yourself on hard times.

Hopefully these workplace tips can help keep your workplace a positive and safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and occupational 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, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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