Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Retail/Grocery Stores/ Convenience Stores: Process for Protecting Workers

Many of the recommendations below are practices taken from workplace ergonomics and safety programs that grocery stores have developed and that OSHA observed while performing site visits at grocery stores. They are intended to provide a flexible framework that a grocery store manager can adapt to an individual store. In many grocery stores, ergonomics, other employee safety and health
efforts, workers’ compensation, and risk management are integrated into a single program that is usually administered by the same staff. OSHA recommends that employers develop a process for systematically addressing ergonomics issues in their facilities, and incorporate this process into an overall program to recognize and prevent occupational safety and health hazards.

Store and company management personnel should consider the general steps discussed below when establishing and implementing an ergonomics program. It should be noted, however, that each store will have different needs and limitations that should be considered when identifying and correcting workplace problems. Different stores may implement different types of programs and activities and
may assign different staff to accomplish the goals of the ergonomics program.

Provide Management Support

Management support for reducing MSDs and communicating support to employees is very important. You have already demonstrated your interest in reducing MSDs by reading these voluntary guidelines. Management support improves the grocery store’s ability to maintain a sustained effort, allocate needed resources, and follow up on program implementation. OSHA recommends that employers:
  • Develop clear goals,
  • Express the company’s commitment to achieving them,
  • Assign responsibilities (training, job analysis, etc.) to designated staff members to achieve those goals,
  • Ensure that assigned responsibilities are fulfilled, and
  • Provide appropriate resources.
Meaningful efforts by management also improve employee participation, which is another essential element for achieving success.

Involve Employees

Employees are a vital source of information about hazards in their workplace. Employees help identify hazards and solve problems. Their involvement can enhance job satisfaction, motivation, and acceptance of workplace changes. There are many different ways employers can involve employees in their ergonomics efforts, including the following:
  • Submit suggestions and concerns;
  • Identify and report tasks that are difficult to perform;
  • Discuss work methods;
  • Provide input in the design of workstations, equipment, procedures and training;
  • Help evaluate equipment;
  • Respond to surveys and questionnaires;
  • Report injuries as soon as they occur;
  • Participate fully in MSD case investigations; and
  • Participate in task groups with responsibility for ergonomics.

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