As a grocery store owner or supermarket manager, it’s important to ensure that your retail space is safe for both employees and customers. As safe as you think your working environment is, supermarkets pose a number of hazards that could harm employees and customers. Implementing strategies for workplace safety is one of the best decisions a company can make as it can affect a company’s bottom line. A safety culture will lead to a more productive work environment, work premises will be kept to higher standards, and there will be less employee insurance claims.
The following five actions will help you ensure supermarket safety.
- Check expiration dates and quality of food. As a supermarket manager, you know how important it is to stock fresh foods that are fit for consumption. Your supermarket won’t have a very good reputation if you sell goods past their sell-by date. Imagine a customer’s annoyance after returning home from the store only to find the milk they had purchased is lumpy and rancid. Not only is it inconvenient, but it could make the customer sick if consumed. Make sure your team is staying on top of checking expiration dates. If you notice a slip-up, some refresher training might be in order.
- Look out for obstruction hazards. Certain hazards in your supermarket can cause customers and employees to trip. To maintain safety and prevent tripping, ensure aisles and walkways are clear. Uneven floor surfaces, loose floor mats, stocking materials, exposed electrical cords, and cables are all obstacles that could cause employers and customers to trip and fall. Make sure you have policies and procedures in place to keep all work areas, storerooms, walkways, and service areas clean and orderly. Keep stocking materials off the floor during opening hours and encourage safe work practices.
- Avoid cross-contamination. There are a number of potential health threats when it comes to food preparation. If knives, cutting boards, deli slicers, and other utensils are not properly maintained, it could lead to bacteria growth and cross-contamination. The meat and deli sections of a supermarket, in particular, should be monitored carefully—especially when working with raw chicken. If not handled carefully, the juice of raw chicken could easily splash on prep bowls and other foods. To avoid cross-contamination, make sure your team regularly washes their utensils and hands when working with different types of foods, wears clean clothing, and maintains personal hygiene to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Mechanical hazards. Proper training is critical in preventing mechanical hazards. Staff should be cautious when using equipment with sharp or moving parts, like deli slicers and forklifts. To maximize safety, staff should wear the proper protective gear when utilizing potentially harmful equipment. Inspect machinery that is used regularly for damage, and immediately fix any issues that arise.
- Being safe underfoot. Make certain you place moisture-absorbent mats in entrance areas, and keep a daily cleaning schedule to prevent oil, water, and dirt from building up on floors. According to the Health and Safety Executive, slips and trips are the most common cause of injuries at work, and account for over a third of all major work injuries. They generally occur due to a loss of traction between the shoe and the walking surface. A surefire way to reduce the risk of slips and falls is to ensure that grocery store staff wear slip-resistant shoes.