Body Mechanics for Retail Workers

body mechanics for retail workersBody mechanics is cause of neck pain. Body mechanics is a phrase used to describe everyday movements made during normal activities such as sitting, standing, lifting and pulling.  Body mechanics can contribute to neck pain, back problems and other bone and muscle problems if performed incorrectly.

Retail workers are especially prone to neck pain due to incorrect use of body mechanics. But, there are various ways to correctly perform activities if you work in the retail industry to minimize the risk of injury to your neck, back and shoulders.

Wearing shoes that offer support for the arches of your feet as well as your back are important if you stand for long periods of time. Feet should really be placed flat to the floor, kept roughly one foot apart and your back should be held straight. Rest periods are essential if you are on your feet for any length of time.

Body Mechanics and Sit-Down Jobs

If your work involves sitting for lengthy periods, a straight- backed chair should be used with a pillow, or even a rolled-up blanket, for lower back support. Your feet should be positioned flat on the floor. Breaks should be taken regularly to move around. Checkout workers should sit within easy reach of the items they are handling so as to avoid slouching or inappropriate back and spine positioning.

Jobs That Require Lifting

Work activities may involve lifting and it is important to test the load, checking the weight to make sure it can be lifted safely. The back should be kept in a natural curve and bending should take place at the hips or knees. A wide base of support should be maintained to reduce slipping.

Objects should be held closely to your body to reduce back strain and your body should not be twisted. Movements should be kept smooth and not jerky.

Keeping the stomach muscles taut helps the abdominal area to assist in lifting reducing strain on the lower back. Pushing rather than pulling utilizes the body weight safely.

Keeping the lifting area clear of obstacles and pre-planning heavy lifting will minimize the risk of injury. Heavy objects may require the assistance of others and it is important to maintain good communication to reduce the risk of unexpected jerky movements. An assistive device such as a dolly or cart may be required for really heavy objects.

Keeping up Good Body Mechanics in the Work Place

Repetitive lifting should be eliminated wherever possible and loads should be broken up into several smaller loads if possible.

When placing items on low shelves it is best to kneel or squat keeping the back straight. The same applies for retrieving items that should be held close to the body before standing up, using the leg muscles and keeping the back straight. Activities that are above chest level should involve the use of a step stool or long handled reaching tool.

When retrieving items from a grocery cart keep one hand should remain on the cart for support, while you reach with your other arm to pick up the item. Your back should be kept straight while pivoting from the hips, and the leg opposite to the supporting arm should be lifted. Once the item has been picked up the hips should be slowly straightened and the leg lowered.

Paying attention to how you move on the job and being conscientious about proper body mechanics can help you to avoid debilitating neck pain.