Don’t Discount Safety at Sales Time

As the 2015 end of financial year rapidly approaches, so too do end of financial year sales. This is a busy time for many retailers!

Poor manual handling practices are responsible for approximately half of the injuries that occur in the retail sector. Many employees handle heavy, unwieldy goods and large boxes as a normal activity at this time. However, moving stock accounts for many injuries, such as ligament, tendon and soft tissue tears, bad backs and even broken bones. Using the wrong access equipment can cause falls and lead to serious injuries. Risks increase greatly during peak periods of activity.

WorkSafe Victoria urges employers and workers in the Victorian retail sector to pay close attention to workplace safety during this busy time of year. Their message to retailers is to make employee safety a key priority at financial year sales time.

WorkSafe inspectors are visiting retail store throughout Victoria, focusing on poor manual handling practices. They are looking closely at warehouses and distribution centres that store and deliver furniture, electrical goods, and whitegoods to retail outlets. Inspectors will focus on appropriate stock handling, basic housekeeping practices, stock control, and storage. They are also making sure that employees are adequately trained and have the correct types of equipment they need to handle stock safely.

At this time of year, nearly eight retail workers are injured per day in Victoria. Many companies employ extra casual staff to help with the extra work, so it is vital to provide enough training and supervision. New and young employees are particularly vulnerable. If young or new employees are unsure how to do something safely, encourage them to speak up and let you know.

WorkSafe urges every workplace to be proactive, and to identify and address safety issues, such as:


  1. Provide platform ladders, step ladders and stools that are suitable for accessing goods on high shelves
  2. Train staff to use ladders safely
  3. Never climb chairs, racking, shelves or tables to reach items that are placed on high shelves
  4. Use hand trucks or trolleys to move heavy, large or unwieldy goods and items
  5. Use height-adjustable scissor and lifting trolleys to move, load and stack store products and items
  6. Keep corridors, aisles, back-of-store and in-store areas clear of excess stock and other clutter so people and equipment have clear access
  7. Keep emergency exits and stairways clear of all types of clutter
  8. Make sure loading docks have enough edge protection to remove the risk of falls
  9. Use an inventory control system so you don’t overstock beyond the store capacity