The retail workforce is extremely diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnicity and education level. Despite perceptions of the retail trades being relatively free of injuries and illnesses, the industry actually experiences a disproportionately high number of both. The vast majority of these maladies are musculoskeletal disorders, which include sprains, strains, back pain, soreness and carpal tunnel syndrome. These stem from the nature of the work that is performed. Common duties tend to be physical work or require repetitive motions, such as managing storerooms, stocking shelves, unloading trucks, and cashiering. Retail workers also often stand for extended periods during their shifts.

By returning an injured employee to the workplace as quickly as possible with a light duty job, retailers can eliminate the wage loss portion of a Workers’ Compensation claim. We have put together a list of light duty job tasks that retailers and wholesalers can provide to injured workers. Employers should make sure to get doctor approval and provide the injured worker with a written job offer letter before starting them on any transitional or light duty job.

  • Greeting Customers
  • Price updates
  • Advertising or promoting store specials or promotions
  • Sampling products to customers
  • Facing (aka blocking or zoning) products on shelves
  • Arranging displays
  • Taking online classes; whichmay include English lessons, GED study, or First Aid certification
  • Watching safety videos
  • Inventory

In addition to the aforementioned light duty task suggestions, retail businesses may want to identify additional options. This can be done by scheduling a meeting of supervisors and employees to suggest transitional or modified work activities for injured workers. Meeting attendees should try to be creative and come up with as many suggestions of meaningful and productive tasks as possible. It is important to note the physical activities required to perform each task, as this will assist the physician in understanding the proposed work.