Occupational health and safety can be defined as a multidisciplinary field which is concerned with the security, physical condition and welfare of the employees in the workplace. The chief aim of occupational health and safety as well as health programs includes fostering the safe and healthy environment. According to Ackermann et al. 2014, In Australia, OHS is also supposed to protect the co-workers, family members, consumers as well as other stakeholders of a business along with employees in order to provide them with an appropriate and safe professional experience. As per the regulations associated with Occupational health and safety, it is legally the responsibility of the employers to look after of the health and safety of the employees. When it comes to retail industry of Australia, it includes food retailing supermarkets, motor vehicles and fuel retailing along with store based retailing. Currently, wesfarmers, Woolworths and Coles are the major players in the Australian Retail market. According to Donham and Thelin (2016), retail trade in Australia employs more than 11 percent of the workforce. Each year, the mentioned industry accounts for about 10,5000 stern employee compensation claims along with six traumatic work related injury fatalities. However, Survey states that within the year 2015-2017, the number of serious claims in the nation has got declined by 21 percent and per hour, the number of serious claims has got decreased by 36 percent.
Not only that, the recruitment rate in the retail industry of Australia has got increased by 20 percent and is thus the second highest employing industry in the Australian economy, first being the healthcare industry. Xiang et al. (2014) stated that in spite of being one of the largest recruiting industry, several issues associated with occupation health and safety can be detected in Australia. Majority of the employee suffers from excessive work load especially during the festive season. This in turn is not only imposing negative impact on their work life balance but is also causing serious physical as well as physiological issues like anxiety disorder and stress. Not only that, Along with that several hazards associated with the health and safety of the Australian retail industry includes manual handling, slips, tips or falls, risk from mishandling of equipments, electrical risks and risk associated with cash handling. According to Landsbergis, Grzywacz and LaMontagne (2014), in order to minimize the above mentioned risk as well as high employee attrition in the mentioned industry, the government of Australia is taking strict action to make the management of retail organizations implement Floyde et al. (2013) states that the WHS laws requires employers as well as all the workplace parties to consult and corporate the management in order avoid workplace risk and protect the health and safety of the employees and other who are liable to risks at workplace.
Working in a supermarket industry and retail industry is a one of the major causes of occupational health hazards in the workers of the supermarket and in a retail shop. In that industry there can b various type of hazards due to prolonged standing, sitting, handling of heavy goods and as well as repetitive movement or motion of the particular part of the body. Along with this, awkward posture can also results in various type of musculo- skeletal disorders. According to Sirge et al.(2014), prolonged sitting in the cash counter of the super market can induce pain and discomfort in the musculo skeletal system of the body. Prolonged sitting in a particular place will result in fatigue in the body as the body is at a static posture for a long period of time. From this study, it is seen that, the cashiers complained about physical fatigue after the end of their work timing and the percentage was about 89.6%. From this study it was seen that the supermarket cashier had the highest occurrence rate of pain in lower back and neck.
Another major part of work in the supermarket is moving of the heavy products from one place to another and that involves the whole part of the body. In a REBA analysis study it is seen that the order picker section of the market the workers worked in bad posture during collecting the carton. They were at thehigh risk zone of developing Musculo skeletal disorder (MSD). The prolonged holding of the upright position during the performance of the task increases the risk of MSD. During the taping of the lifting of the packages the worker have to hold heavy materials and this causes rapid changes I the body posture and also twisting and tilting of the torso to one particular side. The greater distance of the body from the product and continuous repetitive movement of the hand and shoulder joint can induce MSD in the workers. During the sorting task the most risky condition of the body is trunk due to bending (more than 60 degree) and the arms are continuously at the upright position. The repettative motion of the work during the depositing and obtaining orders causes higher risk of MSD development (Lasota, 2014).Along with this, a safer workplace should be maintained in order to reduce the work related accidents in supermarket work floor(Institute of Leadership & Management, 2013). There are several regulation in Australia and they have territory wise diversity in the laws. In NSW, the employers will consult and give full cooperation in order to manage the workplace risk to protect the workers. The PCBU like other employer will ensure the safety of the worker and should try to minimize the risk of workplace. The workers should also take care about their own and other workers safety((Workplaceohs.com.au, 2018).
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Landsbergis, P.A., Grzywacz, J.G. and LaMontagne, A.D., 2014. Work organization, job insecurity, and occupational health disparities. American journal of industrial medicine, 57(5), pp.495-515.
Lasota, A.M., 2014. A REBA-based analysis of packers workload: a case study. LogForum, 10(1).
Sirge, T., Ereline, J., Kums, T., Gapeyeva, H. and Pääsuke, M., 2014. Musculoskeletal symptoms, and perceived fatigue and work characteristics in supermarket cashiers. Agronomy Research, 12(3), pp.915-924.
Workplaceohs.com.au. (2018). Workplace OHS | New South Wales Legislation | OHS Legislation. [online] Available at: https://workplaceohs.com.au/legislation/nsw-legislation [Accessed 4 Oct. 2018].
Xiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D. and Hansen, A., 2014. The impact of heatwaves on workers? health and safety in Adelaide, South Australia. Environmental research, 133, pp.90-95.