Grocery stores pose a wide variety of hazards for employees. Everything from slipping on wet floors and improperly lifting heavy boxes to mishandling equipment including ovens, fryers, knives and pallet jacks can cause minor to severe injuries. As the owner or manager of the store it is important for you to educate employees on grocery store safety.
Workplace incidents may result in lost productivity, equipment damage, spoiled product, and unproductive management time. These are all valid reasons for you to implement a safety program in addition to carrying the required workers compensation insurance. An effective safety program is in writing and includes:
- A written statement of safety policies to demonstrate management commitment
- Assignment of responsibilities for planning, directing, monitoring and implementation of the safety program
- A system for ensuring safety program recognition and enforcement
- A way for employees to communicate safety concerns to employers without fear of reprisal
- A system to identify workplace hazards and methods to ensure elimination of hazards once they are identified
In addition you should implement procedures for investigating the cause of incidents, illnesses or injuries, and preventing their recurrence. Have an ongoing safety and health training and retraining program specific to each job for all employees whenever new substances, processes, procedures or equipment are introduced to the workplace.
Ways to reduce stress, fatigue among workers
- All cashiers should utilize fatigue mats as well as alternate postures and scanning techniques to reduce fatigue.
- Allow employees to alternate between tasks such as scanning and bagging groceries to lessen repetitive motion.
- When scanning, bagging, restocking inventory, reduce reaching and twisting. Perform work tasks within arm’s reach whenever possible.
Avoiding cuts, lacerations and burns
- Train all food-service employees on the proper use, care and cleaning of knives. Knives should never be left in sinks
- Use food-grade scissors for opening food packaging, not knives
- Slicer should be used only if the blade is properly guarded
- Slicers should be turned off when wiping down between products and for sanitizing and cleaning
- Cut-resistant gloves should be used when wiping blade
- When control dial is on zero, blade should fully close so that no blade is exposed when wiping it down
- Only automatically retractable safety box cutters should be used to open boxes
- Use proper hot mitts and hot pads when working around ovens and grills (if the grocery store has deep fryers and rotisserie ovens, only trained employees can use, filter and clean out these units)
By properly training employees, you can reduce injuries that will in turn reduce lost time due to workers comp claims. Workers compensation insurance California is required, but safety training is the smart way to prevent injury and empower employees with the knowledge of how to work safely.