The retail industry is a huge and diverse one, but whether corner shops or huge supermarkets and department stores, all retail businesses have health and safety issues in common.
Slips and trips are a frequent risk factor in a retail environment. If you own or manage a retail business, you must ensure your staff and customers are aware of anything that could cause them to slip, for example making usage of wet floor signs following cleaning or a spillage, and making sure trip hazards such as cables from cleaning machinery are minimised by using the nearest socket outlet to the area to be cleaned. Cleaning staff and shop floor staff should be trained in how to deal with spills and wet floors appropriately.
Another risk area common to retail is manual handling. What you can put in place to mitigate the chance of accidents and longer term musculo-skeletal issues very much depends on what it is your employees are required to move. Use of trolleys and roll cages can help, but you must train staff on how to use them correctly. If your staff are required to move awkwardly shaped items such as carpets, your approach will need to be different. In some retail businesses, there is a risk of repetitive strain injuries resulting from using till equipment and transferring items from a conveyor belt for long periods of time. A specialist Retail Health and Safety Advisor can provide advice on all aspects of moving and handling.
In any business environment that is customer facing, there is always the risk of violence, however small. Almost all retailers have encountered angry customers who lose their temper. Most of the time, their anger shows itself in a raised voice and little more. However, you must protect your staff from the consequences if an angry customer decides to become a violent one. Some businesses have a higher likelihood of this due to their work being more contentious, for example a pawn shop.
Remove or safely secure items on a counter a customer may use as a projectile. Use higher counters or, in high-risk cases, a screen, and be certain your staff have an escape route, and an ability to contact security staff or police. Another risk of violence is the risk of a robbery of your premises. Whilst these incidents are thankfully rare, they can be catastrophic, and it is essential you have a plan for what to do in these cases to protect your employees and yourself.
As a retailer, you may employ drivers, either to deliver to customers, or as drivers of smaller vehicles moving stock around a store or warehouse on the premises. If this is the case you must be sure employees driving these vehicles are properly qualified or trained, and that your vehicles are kept in good repair and regularly serviced.
Our advisors know their stuff when it comes to retail health and safety. As IOSH members we are up to date with the latest legislation and requirements on businesses, and can support you to comply with the law, help avoid costly litigation and ensure your employees and customers stay safe.
If you would like to discuss how Business Management Systems can help your business, please contact us on our form or get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone at 01527 916 201. We are based in Redditch, Worcestershire in the UK.