retail store shopping carts

It’s important that retail and wholesale businesses have proper safety measures in place to ensure that their employees are protected while at work and do not cause harm to themselves or other employees. 

Below are a few safety tips regarding common employee tasks that can help you identify potential blind spots in your risk management and keep your employees safe while working:



  • Plan the move before lifting; ensure that you have an unobstructed pathway.
  • Test the weight of the load before lifting by pushing the load along its resting surface.
  • If the load is too heavy or bulky, use lifting and carrying aids such as hand trucks, dollies, pallet jacks and carts, or get assistance from a co-worker.
  • If assistance is required to perform a lift, coordinate and communicate your movements with those of your co-worker.
  • Position your feet 180 to 360 centimetres apart with one foot slightly in front of the other.
  • Face the load.
  • Bend at the knees, not at the back.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Get a firm grip on the object using your hands and fingers. Use handles when they are present.
  • Hold the object as close to your body as possible.
  • While keeping the weight of the load in your legs, stand to an erect position.
  • Perform lifting movements smoothly and gradually; do not jerk the load.
  • If you must change direction while lifting or carrying the load, pivot your feet and turn your entire body. Do not twist at the waist.
  • Set down objects in the same manner as you picked them up, except in reverse.
  • Do not lift an object from the floor to a level above your waist in one motion. Set the load down on a table or bench and then adjust your grip before lifting it higher.
  • Never lift anything if your hands are greasy or wet.
  • Wear protective gloves when lifting objects that have sharp corners or jagged edges.

Ladders & Stepladders

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions label affixed to the ladder if you are unsure of how to use the ladder.
  • Do not use ladders that have loose rungs, cracked or split side rails, missing rubber foot pads or are otherwise visibly damaged.
  • Keep ladder rungs clean and free of grease. Remove buildup of material such as dirt or mud.
  • Do not place ladders in a passageway or doorway without posting warning signs or cones that detour pedestrian traffic away from the ladder. Lock the doorway that you are blocking with the ladder and post signs that will detour traffic away from your work.
  • Do not place a ladder at a blind corner or doorway without diverting foot traffic by blocking or roping off the area.
  • Allow only one person on the ladder at a time.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up or down it.
  • Maintain a three-point contact by keeping both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand on the ladder at all times when climbing up or down.
  • When performing work from a ladder, face the ladder and do not lean backward or sideways from the ladder. Do not jump from ladders or step stools.



  • Do not place materials such as boxes or trash in walkways and passageways.
  • Sweep up shavings from around equipment such as drill presses, lathes or planers by using a broom and a dust pan.
  • Mop up water around drinking fountains, drink dispensing machines and ice machines immediately.
  • Do not store or leave items on stairways.
  • Do not block or obstruct stairwells, exits or accesses to safety and emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers or fire alarms.
  • Do not block the walking surfaces of elevated working platforms, such as scaffolds, with tools or materials that are not being used.
  • Straighten or remove rugs and mats that do not lie flat on the floor.
  • Remove protruding nails or bend them down into the lumber by using a claw hammer.
  • Return tools to their storage places after using them.
  • Do not use gasoline for cleaning purposes.
  • Use caution signs or cones to barricade slippery areas such as freshly mopped floors.



Find Out More:

This list is not exhaustive, and assessing your company’s exposures and taking the appropriate precautions can go a long way toward protecting your retail industry business.

Download our “Retail and Wholesale Employee Safety Manual” guide for an in-depth list of more ways to minimize gaps in your risk management: