Work related injuries at grocery stores
Most grocery stores have developed procedures to help reduce risk factors in their effort to minimize workplace injuries.
Most grocery store work is physically demanding in some way. Every day grocery store workers handle thousands of items while stocking shelves, checking groceries, decorating bakery goods, and preparing meat products. These tasks involve ergonomic risk factors such as force, repetition, awkward posture, and static postures.
In the grocery store business, the presence of these risk factors increases the risks for injuries and illnesses.
Injuries may include:
• Muscle strains and back injuries that occur from repeated use or overexertion;
• Carpal tunnel syndrome;
• Rotator cuff injuries;
• Epicondylitis (an elbow problem); and
• Trigger finger that occurs from repeated use of a single finger.
While placing merchandise in the front of a display case improves the appearance of merchandise; working in the back of a deep display case to face or stock merchandise can be uncomfortable, especially when heavy items are involved. The solution can stocking from the back. The product slides down an inclined shelf so that it's always in front of the customer. It's also easier for the employee stocking the shelf.
Another solution is providing cases with spring-loaded backs. When a customer removes an item, the back pushes the remaining items to the front, keeping them within easy reach. The design makes it easier to stock cases by eliminating the need to reach to the back of the case. The stocker puts the first products in at the front of the shelf, and then pushes it back to make room for more items.
What happens when an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome? Is it work related? If his or her job requires frequent hand activity, or forceful or sustained awkward hand motions, then the problem may be work-related. If the job requires very little hand or arm activity then the disorder may not be work-related.
Activities outside of the workplace that involve physical demands may also cause or contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. Causes of musculoskeletal disorders may be related to genetic causes, gender, age, and other factors.
Grocery stores which have implemented injury prevention efforts focusing on musculoskeletal and ergonomic issues have reported reduced work-related injuries and associated workers' compensation costs. Fewer injuries can also improve morale, reduce employee turnover, encourage employees to be employed longer, and discourage senior employees from retiring early.
Workplace changes based on ergonomic principles may also lead to increased productivity by eliminating unneeded motions, reducing fatigue and increasing worker efficiency. Healthier workers, better morale, and higher productivity can also contribute to better customer service.
Many ergonomic changes result in increased efficiency by reducing the time needed to perform a task. Many grocery stores that have already instituted programs have reported reduced musculoskeletal disorders, reduced workers' compensation costs, and improved efficiency.
Is the economy affecting workers compensation?
Workers comp & the economy
You betcha and not in a good way either.
Some of the downside associated with workers comp cases are taking longer to settle because insurers are trying to cut workers comp costs. Layoffs at insurance companies have also slowed down the settlement process. When there is less workers to review more claims, everything slows down the decision making process.
Valid claims may also skyrocket during a bad economy because previously employees may have worried what effect their injuries would have on their employer. But if they're laid off, workers comp benefits are better than unemployment benefits or no income.
All in all, a bad economy is never good for workers comp or anyone having to do double duty because everything requires a mountain of paperwork and no time to hire new employees because just cutting through a ton of applicants is indeed a full-time job in itself.