Wholesale and Retail Trade
Employers utilize NIOSH information in decision-making about managing and structuring work to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among wholesale and retail trade workers
Other federal agencies, trade associations, labor organizations, employers, owner/operators, and researchers use NIOSH information to reduce injuries and fatalities related to fatigue and stress among transportation and utility workers.
NOTE: Goals in bold in the table below are priorities for extramural research.
|Health Outcome||Research Focus||Worker Population||Research Type|
|A||Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)||Work organization||Food and beverage, building and gardening materials, and general merchandise subsectors; workers with non-standard work arrangements & other vulnerable worker groups||Intervention|
|B||MSDs||Develop communication and training products||Food and beverage, and general merchandise subsectors||Translation|
|C||MSDs||Employer behavioral economics and organizational culture||Small businesses, workers with non-standard work arrangements, vulnerable workers||Surveillance research|
Activity Goal WRTxHWD 7.9.1 (Intervention Research): Conduct intervention studies to develop and assess best practices for managing and structuring work to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among wholesale and retail trade workers.
Activity Goal WRTxHWD 7.9.2 (Translation Research): Conduct studies on the barriers and facilitators to implementing effective musculoskeletal disorders interventions in wholesale and retail trade.
Activity Goal WRTxHWD 7.9.3 (Surveillance Research): Develop/enhance surveillance methods to better characterize employer behavioral economics and organizational culture characteristics that are risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and for preclinical musculoskeletal pain symptoms among wholesale and retail trade workers.
In 2015, workers in the transportation and warehousing industry had a fatal work injuries rate of 13.8 per 100,000 workers, the second highest rate for all workers [BLS 2017]. The organization of work in the transportation, warehousing and utilities (TWU) sector exacerbates risk of work-related injuries and fatalities. The long hours of work and irregular work schedules typical of the sector often lead to chronic sleep deprivation, disruption of circadian rhythms, and poor sleep quality. Insufficient sleep is associated with a broad range of health and safety risks including, vehicle crashes and disturbances to cognition [AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety 2016; DOT 2015; FMCSA 2007]. For TWU sector workers, delivery deadlines, time pressures, long periods away from home, and pay-by-the-mile compensation can contribute to work stress and incentivize non-compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations that limit driving and duty hours.
Previous research suggests that stimulant use is an important problem for U.S. truck drivers. Couper et al.  reported that 9.5% of truck drivers in Oregon and Washington State tested positive for central nervous system stimulants such as amphetamine, cocaine, and pseudoephedrine. Use during driving has been shown to multiply the risk of a fatal crash by 3 to 4.5 [Elvik 2013]. Results for a cross-sectional intercept study showed the prevalence of at-risk drinking (five or more drinks in one day) was significantly higher for male long-haul drivers, during break periods from work [Birdsey et al. 2015]. It has been reported that engaging in even one or two days of at-risk drinking per year increases the prevalence of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence [Dawson et. al. 2005] causing problems such as failure to fulfill expectations at work or home, increased physical hazards, legal problems, social/interpersonal problems, or an inability to control drinking behavior [Maisto et. al. 2003].
The Institute of Medicine [IOM 2006] calls poor sleep health, shift work, and long work hours a critical unmet public health problem, because of the societal requirements of a 24/7 clock. Scientific evidence on the topic of sleep health, shift work, and long work hours has mounted in recent decades, but information has not been adequately disseminated or implemented in the TWU sector. Despite the quite extensive body of research showing the links between stress and health and safety outcomes, there have been few studies to identify workplace psychosocial and work organization risk factors by sector and fewer studies of interventions to address these risk factors. There is a critical need to develop effective tools that organizations can use to assess sources of job stress and develop interventions to address these risk factors. Research is needed to develop effective administrative controls for managers and workers to improve sleep and reduce workplace stress. In addition, research is needed to determine effective interventions that reduce workplace injuries and fatalities correlated to fatigue, stress, and stimulants used by workers to personally mitigate these effects. This complex hazard requires research on many types of interventions to reduce risks: testing various work scheduling patterns; manipulating light exposure, pharmacology agents, and diet regimes; work organization strategies and efforts to change workplace cultures; workplace interventions including policies, fatigue risk management systems, and education programs; mathematical models to predict risks; and studies of the impact of broader public policy measures (for example, impact of hours of service rules).
Employers, researchers, nongovernmental organizations, workers, and policy makers will use NIOSH information to improve safety, and health among workers in non-standard work arrangements; young workers and other vulnerable workers in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector.
NOTE: Goals in bold in the table below are priorities for extramural research
|Health Outcome||Research Focus||Worker Population||Research Type|
|A||Acute and chronic disease, Fatal and non-fatal injuries||Inadequate occupational safety and health training, and lack of OSH programs||Workers in non-standard work arrangements; young workers and other vulnerable workers||Intervention
|B||Acute and chronic disease, Fatal and non-fatal injuries||Characterizing workers in non-standard work arrangements, young workers and other vulnerable worker populations, as well as risk factors||Workers in non-standard work arrangements; young workers and other vulnerable workers||Surveillance research|
Activity Goal 7.10.1 (Intervention Research): Conduct studies to develop and assess the effectiveness of training and other OSH interventions for workers in non-standard arrangements; young workers and other vulnerable workers in the WRT sector.
Activity Goal 7.10.2 (Translation Research): Conduct translation research to understand barriers and aids to implementing effective safety and health interventions for workers in non-standard arrangements and other vulnerable workers in the WRT sector.
Activity Goal 7.10.3 (Surveillance Research): Conduct surveillance research to better characterize the risk factors for workers in non-standard arrangements; young workers and other vulnerable workers in the WRT sector.
Younger workers (ages 15-24) and contingent workers, meaning those with a job they do not expect to last, are at elevated risk for workplace injuries [CDC 2010, Katz and Krueger 2016]. In 2011, 23% of working youth aged 16–17 worked in WRT, making it the 2nd largest group [Castillo and Lewko 2013]. Retail is consistently ranked in the top three most dangerous industries for young workers [Rauscher and Runyan 2013]. Between the years 2003 and 2007, 10% of all fatal injuries among younger wokers occurred in the WRT sector [CDC 2010]. The proportions of workers 18 and younger injured both fatally and nonfatally in a retail trade job are greater than those for adults [Castillo and Lewko 2013].Young workers face a number of stressors in the WRT sector—including having to interact with customers, handle cash, and work at night and without proper supervision—that elevate their risk of being injured or even killed on the job [Rauscher and Runyan 2013].Similarly, temporary workers of any age are at increased risk for occupational injury. Research demonstrates that temporary workers bear a higher burden (than permanent employees) of work-related injuries and illnesses [Benavides et al. 2006, Cummings and Kreiss 2008].
Given the disproportionate number of workplace injuries suffered by young workers and new hires, occupational safety and health (OSH) education for these vulnerable populations is imperative. NIOSH developed 8 core competencies using widely-used health behavior models that are general, transferable, and portable across all jobs and industries. The competencies complement job-specific knowledge and skill curricula already taught through apprenticeship and other vocational and career technical training programs in WRT and other sectors. The Youth@Work-Talking Safety curriculum is the primary means through which NIOSH promotes the competencies in workplace safety and health. The pathway that potentially has the largest reach is the integration of OSH into middle school and high school programs (including in career technical education programs that focus on trades, including in the WRT sector).
Research is needed to understand how the competencies could be applied to other school and training settings (such as in career technical education pathways and in community colleges), and what barriers and incentives increase buy-in, adoption, and implementation with fidelity. Research is also needed to understand how other vulnerable workers can be reached with the foundational OSH knowledge and skills. There is also a need to explore the use/integration of the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies internationally to assess their utility for promoting workplace safety and health knowledge and skills in a broad range of school, community, and work-based settings.
Surveillance research is needed to develop survey questions and other methods to better characterize workers in non-standard work arrangements, young workers and other vulnerable worker populations. This includes collection of updated and refined burden data on the prevalence of potentially harmful work arrangements (e.g. precarious work), work schedules, workload, and workplace psychosocial characteristics among these worker populations.
Benavides FG, Benach J, Muntaner C, Delclos GL, Catot N, Amable M . Associations between temporary employment and occupational injury: what are the mechanisms? Occup Environ Med 63(6):416-21.
BLS . Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) – Industry Illness and Injury Data. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htmexternal icon, http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/ostb4343.pdf, http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/ostb4351.pdfpdf iconexternal icon
Castillo D, Lewko J . youth employment and the health and safety issues of young workers in the U.S. and Canada: An overview. In Health and safety of young workers–Proceedings of a US and Canadian series of symposia. DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No 2013-144, pp. 4-25, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-144/default.html
CDC . Occupational injuries and deaths among younger workers: United States, 1998-2007. MMWR 59(15):449-455, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5915a2.htm
Cummings KJ, Kreiss K . Contingent workers and contingent health: Risks of a modern economy. JAMA 299(4):448–50.
IOM (Institute of Medicine) . Musculoskeletal disorders and the workplace: Low back and upper extremities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10032external icon
Katz LF, Krueger AB . The rise and nature of alternative work arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015. http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/lkatz/files/katz_krueger_cws_v3.pdf?m=1459369766Cdc-pdfExternalpdf iconexternal icon
Luckhaupt, S, Groenewold, M, et al. . Back pain and work using population-based data from the National Health Interview Survey. Presented at the American Occupational Health Conference, Denver, CO, April 24. Unpublished.
NIOSH . National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Occupational Health Supplement (OHS), 2015. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nhis
Rauscher KJ, Runyan CW . Prevalence of working conditions associated with adolescent occupational injury in the US: A review of literature. In Health and safety of young workers–Proceedings of a US and Canadian series of symposia. DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No 2013-144, pp. 126-136, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-144/default.html .