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Retail Safety

Ah, "retail". The very word fills people with both excitement and dread in equal measures, from the shopaholics to the sales assistants. But health and safety don’t usually spring to mind.

retail safety

There are things to bear in mind when working in retail, which should be the forefront of every employees mind when they are helping customers to sweeping the floors.

Using the advice given on the hse.gov.uk site we give you a quick guide to retail safety.

Manual Handling In Retail

Manual handling is a daily occurrence in the retail industry, unloading stock early in the morning into roll cages to be sorted and displayed in the shops before the doors open at 9 am for the customers.

But if the goods are not handled properly they can cause injury, the employer should consider the following:

  • Avoiding manual handling if at all possible or using equipment to reduce effort required.
  • Each employees capacity for tasks.
  • What tasks need to be completed.
  • Making sure the working environment is well lit.
  • Any equipment such as ladders are checked regularly.

It is worth noting that employers have a legal duty to manage the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Making sure that your employees report any risks or unsatisfactory equipment is paramount and should be encourage, some companies use initiatives which have been very successful.

Also making sure that your employees are trained and up to date with safety procedures is beneficial and cost effective in the long run

Slips & Trips

Being a retailer, or working in retail means that you have to deal with a large volume of people coming in and out of your shop, both staff and the general public.

With this in mind you should make sure of the following:

  • Floor is kept clear, no wires, clothes, or equipment left where people could trip over them.
  • When cleaning floors you should remember to put out the relevant warning signs, and remember that if cleaning greasy floors detergent will take time to work.
  • Cleaning equipment should be well maintained, this will ensure that tasks will take less time and be more effective.
  • Any spillages should be dealt with immediately.
  • If you are using electrical cleaning equipment make sure they are plugged into the closest socket to prevent trip hazards.

As well as the above making sure that the floor is in good condition, anything that could cause a trip or slip needs to be reported to the manager immediately to be dealt with.

Working at Height In Retail

Use of ladders is an everyday task when you are working within the retail industry from storerooms to getting stock down for customers, so it’s important that they are used in the proper way.

Things to bear in mind before you use the ladder:

  • The stiles should be in good condition before you use them, no loose or bent ones, these can give way at any time.
  • Check the feet, if they are damaged or missing this could cause the ladder to slip causing injury to the user and any bystanders.
  • Check the rings/steps, like the stile if any of these are bent or loose do not use, they could give way under your weight.

Violence In Retail

Working in retail means that you have to deal with complaints (usually on the refund till) and if the customer is not happy there is a rare occasion where violence is threatened.

As an employer you have a legal duty to protect your employees’ safety whilst they are working, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This includes all forms of work related violence which has been defined as the following:

“Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work.”

This includes physical violence and verbal abuse.

You can find a toolkit on managing violence in a licenced retail premises on hse.gov.uk site.

Photograph of Laura Holland

Author Bio -

Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015