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Increasing Safety in Shipping and Receiving in a Retail Store

Oct 17, 2007
Simple precautions and correct procedures can make the difference in preventing accidents in the shipping and receiving department of a retail store. If you operate a retail store or have a similar warehousing arrangement, then take a look at the tips below, they may help you to make your workplace safer and more efficient.

Stack cartons so that they're not piled at the end of aisles where people could trip over them. Clean all walkways (floors. aisles, stairs) and keep them free of debris, trash, spills or fallen merchandise.

Place floor mats and carpets flat, without ripples or curled edges, and make sure they are slide-resistant. It is also important to eliminate obstructions from all the exit paths.

Stack merchandise in a stable manner that's easy to reach. Remove protruding objects (that can block walkways) from displays, counters, tables and floor stacks.

Maintain at least 30" of clearance space around all sources of ignition such as heaters, boilers and electrical panels.

Follow this three-step process when working with box cutters:

1. Position the box at an angle to your body so that the cutter will not be moving directly towards you.

2. Position your other hand on the opposite side of the carton.

3. Make a smooth cut, then turn the box a quarter revolution. Make another smooth cut, then turn the box again.

Check the condition of a box cutter's blade frequently. Dull blades require more pressure and increase the risk of injuries.

Tips for proper lifting:

Size up the load. If it looks too heavy, use lifting equipment or ask for help.

Check the route to make sure it's free of obstructions, water and other trip-and-fall hazards.

Place your feet close to the object, bend your knees and get a firm hand hold.

Lift smoothly, primarily using your leg muscles. Lift straight up, keeping the load close to your body without twisting or turning.

Turn your body by changing foot position as you start walking, rather than twisting.

Set down the load slowly, bending your knees.

Do not let go until you've lowered it securely onto the floor. Transport carts and wheel racks by pushing-not pulling.

Do's and don'ts of safe stocking in shipping and receiving:

DO:

- Lay pallets flat.

- Use stock trucks or carts whenever possible.

- Load stock trucks or carts so they pass through aisles or doorways with ease.

- Break down empty boxes and containers; discard them promptly so they don't accumulate.

DON'T:

- Stack merchandise in aisles, stairs or in front of exits.

- Use boxes, pallets or other items in place of a ladder.

- Overreach when stocking. Stretching may result in falls or strains.

Follow these safety rules on your receiving dock:

- Keep the dock area clear of racks, displays and other items or debris.

- Clean any spills or wet areas that can cause a slip-and-fall injury.

- Check all pallet jacks before use.

- Use the stairs to go from ground level to the dock, or vice versa. Don't try to hoist yourself up or jump from the dock to ground level.

- Never ride a pallet jack or forklift.

These are simple safety tips but if they are strictly followed, then your shipping, receiving and warehousing areas will be as safe and as accident-free as possible.
About the Author
Ann Knapp writes for Safecutters, Inc., distributor of the Klever Kutter and Klever Koncept, two of the safest utility knives available. Klever Kutter virtually eliminates the risk of workplace injuries, while the permanently shielded blade protects packaged products. It has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security for safe air transport. For more information about Safecutters products, visit SafeCutters.
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