How to avoid retail-related work injuries
Overdoing it on the job is a typical reason for injuries in the retail industry. Muscle strains and sprains result from a variety of movements including lifting, bending and twisting at the waist, pushing and pulling boxes, carrying items and using poor posture.
Labor & Industries has specific data on retail injuries, which looks like this:
- One out of every four injuries in retail is from overexertion.
- The average cost per overexertion claim is a little over $11,500.
- Overexertion claims represent about 37 percent of workers’ comp costs in retail.
- Lifting causes about half the overexertion injuries. Carrying ranks second, followed closely by pushing and pulling.
- Boxes were the most frequent source of injury. Automotive parts also were high on the list of sources of injury.
- The back was clearly the most frequently injured part of the body. Shoulder injuries were a distant second.
To prevent overexertion:
- Stretch and/or warm up before heavy lifting or strenuous activity
- Use hand trucks and carts as much as possible
- Lift with your legs bent and objects held close to your body
- Avoid bending, overreaching and twisting when lifting
- For unusual sized items, get help when lifting
Proper posture, body mechanics and ergonomics can lessen overexertion injuries. Because it is important that the demands of the job match the capabilities of the worker, extra training may be required to perform a job safely.
WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.