Retail Workers and Fatigue

December 17, 2018

Employee Benefit & HR News

During the holidays, many retail workers experience irregular and extended shifts and often take on additional workload due to reduced staff. This can lead to overexertion, stress and fatigue which ultimately can cause poor overall health in the population.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looked at the retail sector and provided suggestions to reduce worker fatigue that can be implemented at the workplace. These include:

  • Allow for adequate rest breaks. Frequent breaks every 1 or 2 hours are more effective than one or two long breaks.
  • Allow at least 10 hours between shifts and try and avoid scheduling workers for an opening shift if they worked a closing shift the day before. Employees will have a better chance of getting 7-8 hours of sleep if they have adequate time off.
  • Schedule one or two days of rest for every five consecutive work days that are 8 – 10 hours long.
  • Provide anti-fatigue mats and/or chairs or stools for employees who stand for long periods of time.
  • Schedule strenuous and difficult work when employees are most alert. Fatigue related-incidents are at increased risk from 4am to 6am and then again in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Ensure adequate lighting, comfortable temperatures, ventilation and minimal exposure to noise in the workplace.
  • Offer healthy snacks or vending, access to cold water and refrigerators or microwaves for employees to bring healthy food from home.

For more information, visit NIOSH: https://doi.org/10.26616/NIOSHPUB2019102

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About Diane Andrea

Diane is the Wellness Consultant for J.W. Terrill. Diane is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified health coach with over 20 years experience in the wellness field.

View all posts by Diane Andrea

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