A good share of retail workers regularly break health and safety rules while a quarter of retail workers say risk assessments are not conducted in their workplace, a recent study has found.
According to the study commissioned by Phoenix Health & Safety, based on the survey of 1,500 participants, over two fifths (43 per cent) of retail workers regularly break health and safety rules because of bad habits becoming commonplace in the workplace, whilst a similar number (40 per cent) say they break a rule when they don’t see the risk as being great enough.
The most common reasons health and safety regulations are broken in retail are bad habits becoming commonplace (43 per cent), people think the risk does not seem great enough to need the rules (40 per cent) and to speed up work (36 per cent). 27 per cent employees see the rules as unnecessary while 24 per cent employers see the rules as unnecessary, states the study.
Discussing the results, Nick Higginson, CEO of Phoenix Health & Safety, shares, “By looking at these results we can see that a major reason why regulations are being broken is a poor understanding of the rules and why they’re in place, with 40 per cent of people seeing rules as unnecessary.”
In addition, 36 per cent of retail workers break health and safety rules to speed up their work and 27 per cent of employees said they break rules when they see them as unnecessary.
“It is easy to forget the importance of regulations and fall into bad habits if they’re not addressed on a regular basis. This is why frequent training is imperative to ensure employees have an up-to-date understanding of all health and safety measures in place and why they matter,” Higginson explains.
The most frequently broken health and safety regulations in retail are not reporting an incident to superiors (31 per cent), not doing adequate risk assessments (26 per cent), slipping/tripping hazards not addressed (25 per cent), not following moving and handling guidelines (23 per cent), not following working from height guidelines (18 per cent), not having clear signage (18 per cent) and blocking fire escapes or other essential gangways (16 per cent)
Explaining why this is so concerning, Higginson says, “It is vital that a potential hazard in the workplace is reported to the relevant persons, whether that be a supervisor or safety manager, as soon as it has been identified so it can be dealt with immediately. Not doing so can result in accidents and injuries that could have been otherwise avoided.”
Over a quarter (26 per cent) of retail workers also reported that risk assessments were inadequate in their workplace.
Higginson states, “This is very surprising, as completing a thorough risk assessment is essential as part of HSE compliance and preventing accidents within the workplace – the failure to complete an appropriate risk assessment can not only result in a hefty fine but can also put the public and employees at considerable risk.”
“Whilst health and safety regulations may sometimes be perceived as unnecessary and a barrier to productive work, it’s important to remember that they play a crucial and potentially life saving role in the workplace. 135 workers and 68 members of the public were killed in work-related accidents in 2022-23, signaling how this is a serious issue which can result in fatalities.
“It is the responsibility of organisations to ensure that all health and safety regulations are in place and a culture of following the rules is installed in the workplace, but it is also the responsibility of employees themselves to ensure the regulations are followed.”