There has been a great deal of focus on employee health as of late, and with good reason. After all, the world is still coping with the consequences of COVID-19. But on top of that, more and more employers have finally realized how poor safety standards affect retail businesses.
For example, statistical data from the Department of Labor published in 2019 shows that there were more than 400,000 work-related injuries in the previous year, with 31% of those resulting in missed days from work. According to reports, the most common causes of workplace accidents include those caused by:
- equipment mishandling
- falls, slips, trips
- transportation incidents
- exposure to harmful substances
- violence-related injuries
- fires and explosions.
Now, this data may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be a source of worry. Much better, it can be a great guide on how to maintain health and safety standards in your retail store. So, if you’re ready to get down to work, here’s a quick guide on everything you can do to provide a safer environment for your retail workers.
Invest in Education
The best thing you can do to prevent accidents at your retail locations is to put enough work into educating your employees about safety.
In addition to ensuring that everyone is well-acquainted with your fire protection plan and knows how to use equipment, assess any other possible risks.
For example, having your workers attend a robbery deterrence course won’t lower the chances of your store getting hit. However, it might help prevent needless injuries. More importantly, it might help your employees handle the situation in the safest way for themselves and your customers.
The one thing to keep in mind here is that retail attracts many part-time and seasonal workers, including teenagers and students.
So, while your initial reaction might be to think that they don’t need as much training as your full-time employees, statistical data shows the opposite. With that in mind, all safety-related education should be obligatory, regardless of whether your newest hire is joining you temporarily or is in it for the long run.
Consider the Layout of Your Store
Another easy thing you can do to boost employee health and safety is to organize your business premises in a way that will minimize the risk of physical injury.
- Something as simple as reorganizing your warehouse so that frequently purchased items are in easy reach can do a great deal to avoid falls from height.
- Doing a proper job at managing cables and wires could help prevent trips that could lead to physical harm.
- Even clearing and labeling paths or investing in functional lighting help keep your employees injury-free.
Implement Safety Monitoring Systems
Another super-easy strategy for maintaining health and safety standards in retail is to invest in monitoring systems. This is necessary not just for security but for environmental hazards as well.
For example, a large portion of retail businesses have shops in malls, where there are commonly no windows. With the lack of natural ventilation and often-neglected ventilation systems, air quality can quickly diminish. A simple air purifier could help you monitor (and improve) that air quality, and at an affordable price as well.
Or, if monitoring air quality seems too high-tech for you, you could make sure that your video surveillance system is well-connected. That way, your security personnel won’t just have insights into what’s going on on the shop floor. They’ll also have actionable information in case the store needs to be evacuated, like in the case of fire.
Always Keep Up to Date With Government-Issued Regulations
Finally, there’s one more easy thing you can do to maintain health and safety standards: keep up to date with government-issued guidelines and regulations.
For example, as with COVID-19, some health issues require a global, unified reaction to prevent consequences. So, if wearing masks, disinfecting, and limiting the number of people in your shop is what it takes to keep your employees (and customers) healthy, then that’s an adjustment worth making.
Not convinced yet? Just think about how much you’d be standing to lose if one or more of your people had to go into a two-week quarantine. Chances are, it’s not a small sum.
There you have it – simple tips for maintaining health and safety standards in retail.
As you can see, none of these methods require a big initial monetary investment. Instead, they ask you to take a good look at your retail space and assess possible risks.
Then, once you’re aware of what poses possible threats, you can choose how to address the issues and start focusing on other ways to help your business thrive.
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.