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Safety Matters

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Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.


Ho Ho Hold on - is that safe?
For retail workers in Nova Scotia the busy holiday shopping season can be risky business when it comes to workplace injury.

In 2012 there were 460 injuries in the retail sector in November and December.  Of those injuries, 110 were serious enough to result in time lost from work.  

Many contributing factors can lead to retail workers getting hurt on the job – from the way work is designed and set up, to increased hours and workload. That’s why it’s important that employers provide proper safety training, and workers understand their rights and responsibilities.

In Nova Scotia more young workers are hurt in the retail industry than in any other. Of the 2673 injuries that occurred in the sector in 2012, 655 involved a worker under the age of 25.

It’s not that retail is necessarily any more dangerous than other industries – it’s just that so many Nova Scotians get their start working in retail.  

Retail workers often get hurt moving bags, boxes and other materials, using tools and equipment such as box cutters and pallet jacks, and slipping and falling, often caused by spills or other slippery surfaces.

Don’t let injury dampen your holiday spirits. Here are some tips for staying safe:

•    Use safe lifting practices when performing tasks like stocking shelves or moving grocery carts to prevent strains and sprains.

•    Wear steel-toed boots in case heavy boxes or pallets fall on your feet.

•    Slippery floors can lead to slips and falls, so clean ‘em up

•    Use a ladder or step stool to reach high items.

•    Ask for help.

If you’re an employer in the retail industry, here are a few ways you can protect your employees:

•    Talk to employees about safety and make sure they are properly trained to handle any equipment or chemicals related to their work.

•    Develop a violence prevention plan and train employees on what to do if a robbery occurs.

•    Keep the store clean and well-stocked.

More information about workplace safety in the retail industry can be found in the Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers produced by the Retail Council of Canada in partnership with the WCB and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.


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