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WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE

wholesale and retail trade

Inputs: Emerging Issues

A number of emerging issues within the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector will influence the pattern of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Many of these emerging issues are linked to the changes in the economy and the global market that are having an impact on all industry sectors to varying degrees. The Wholesale and Retail Trade sector is noteworthy for the number of workers (21 million) that are required to staff the 1.6 million trade-related workplaces in the United States . The trade sector has a continuing need for workers, turnover is high, many of the jobs are entry level, skill levels may be low, and as a result the sector attracts a diverse workforce of both very young and older workers. One task for the Wholesale and Retail Trade Research Council will be to develop a research agenda that will adequately identify the emerging issues and prepare the research goals needed to address them.

Some of the emerging issues include the following: (1) long work hours, (2) shift work, and (3) work stress from serving the public, either in direct or telemarketing sales. Health and retirement benefits are disappearing, which can cause work-related stress in managing illnesses. Just in time shipping and order filling is increasing causing time pressure and lack of work control. Psychosocial problems are increasing that can fuel workplace violence. Musculoskeletal disorders continue to be a burden to workers, but the stress loads are shifting from the low back and legs to the upper extremities and shoulders/neck. This is occurring as a consequence of materials handling equipment reducing the lifting burdens but increasing the need to use keyboards and monitoring systems. Researcher will need to be sensitive to low force and high speed repetitive activities and static postures. It is expected that as the research agenda for the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector is developed, more emerging issues will be identified that will require continuing research.

OSHA Trade News Release: Guidance for late-night retail workers

Ergonomics Guidance for Employers

This is a listing of many of the best recognized sources of guidance on ergonomics in the public and nonprofit sectors. It is not an exhaustive list. There are also private websites that have useful resources. A list of several of the leading reference works on ergonomics is also given below.

Federal
NIOSH
OSHA
U. S. Department of Energy
State

The following websites have relevant guidance resources. There may be other state websites with useful materials as well.

California, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Oregon OSHA
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
University-based

Below are two university websites with a variety of resources and links. There may be other university websites that are helpful as well.

International
Australia, New South Wales, WorkCover
Canada
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
United Kingdom, Health and Safety Executive

Sources of Information for Finding Professional Ergonomics Assistance

Workers’ compensation insurers
Most workers’ compensation insurers have ergonomic specialists on staff or can arrange for the services of a specialist.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Requests for assistance can be submitted to the Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) program. Responses can range from a written communication with useful information, to a telephone consultation, to an on-site investigation that results in a formal published report. Services are free of charge.

OSHA consultation program for small and medium sized employers
Consultations are free and confidential, are not reported to OSHA enforcement, and do not result in citations, penalties, or fines.

Individuals with professional certifications

Sources of referrals and contact information are listed below. These individuals may be private consultants or be employed by universities or government agencies.

Consultants with credentials specific to ergonomics
Consultants with general safety and health credentials
 
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