Avoid the biggest grocery store dangers

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Modern supermarkets and grocery stores are like several businesses combined into one convenient shopping location. Although this can create a great environment for customers, it also increases the number of hazards and safety concerns for employees. With a warehouse, deli, butcher, marketplace, offices and other areas all under one roof, employees have to avoid the risks that are present in each individual area of work. Here are a few tips to help clerks, managers, overnight workers and any other employees navigate through the dangers of a grocery store. 

Clean scanners and take regular breaks 
Cashiers who scan items are susceptible to injury if they don't take the proper precautions. Like any occupational motion that's done repeatedly, there's risk of chronic injury. Travelers Insurance recommended grocery workers take breaks at regular intervals to avoid overusing any body part too much. Also, dirty scanners may take longer than they should, and require unnecessary and repeated scans. Frequent cleaning and maintenance is also helpful for injury prevention. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advised cashiers to slide items across without lifting, reduce hip twisting and punch in codes rather than try rescanning an item after the third try. 

Even if you don't work the cashier, don't forget to take your breaks. Breaks can help keep your mind sharp and prevent mistakes and accidents.

Reduce slip hazards 
One of the biggest concerns for any grocery employee may be slipping or falling. Many of the normal task at a grocery store increase the likeliness of slip hazards occurring. In the seafood, butcher or florist sections, water or other liquids may easily get onto the floor. This can create an unsafe work environment, especially when working with dangerous tools. Many grocery stores turn to nonslip mats for protection from these unavoidable substances. Mats can add traction to the floor and help employees keep their balance. 

However, you can't put mats all over the store. So, slip-resistant shoes can be the extra layer of protection for employees out on the floor. Spills and leaks can happen nearly anywhere in the store, so these nonslip work shoes can be a great defense against unexpected traction loss. Of course, it's important to look out for dangers for customers as well. Often, the areas near produce that's sprayed with water are some of the store's slipperiest areas. Employees should clean spills quickly and clearly mark any hazards.

Maintain an organized and by-the-book store room 
Many large grocery stores and supermarkets have storerooms that are akin to warehouses. Complete with pallets, loading docks and other warehouse mainstays, these areas should be treated with the same safety precautions and respect as other warehouses.

State Auto Insurance recommended grocery stores to stack boxes and pallets according to specified height to avoid injury. Also, orderly stacking can help prevent falls and damage to goods. Employees should be properly trained on the use of pallet jacks, handcarts and u-boats. 

Employees should also follow proper lifting guidelines while working with boxes in the warehouse. Boxcutter safety and loading dock precautions are also critical aspects of warehouse safety.

Establish a reliable communication plan 
There are always new dangers that can come up in a work place, but it's important that they're dealt with in a smart and effective way. There should always be communication to reduce work safety risk within the company. Employees should be able to have a person of contact that they can reach out to to solve a hazardous situation. Whether the bailer is malfunctioning or the deli slicers are in need of repair, creating a very clear safety plan is beneficial to everyone involved.

Grocery stores don't need to be dangerous places for employees, but there are a number of steps that management and employees may need to take to ensure the environment's safety for themselves and customers. 

Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to supermarket employees for more than 30 years.

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