One of the huge costs of running a grocery store is healthcare. Workmen’s (workperson’s) compensation is also a challenge due to all the grocery clerks who have wrist problems or Carpal Tunnel. Those repetitive motions of picking up items and moving them across the scanner take their toll on the frail human skeletal bones of the wrist. You can see why large grocery store chains with risk management departments take “wrist management” seriously. Let’s talk, but first let me tell you a little personal story.
The other day, I purchased 8 two-liter bottles, and I noted the cashier line I got into was one with an older lady who normally wears a Carpal Tunnel wrist support brace. I put one bottle up and said; “8 of those” and told her I was saving her from Carpal Tunnel, and she thanked me and said she had forgotten her wrist brace today and was happy not to have to do any heavy lifting. I was then pleased with myself for thinking ahead and on-the-fly and bypassing the heavy bottles to the young bagging gal who asked the same-old same-old; “Paper or Plastic?”
If this older checker is not careful, she’ll be on disability before she knows it, and I bet the risk management department knows that too, even if their in-house specialists and in-house contracted chiropractors are trying to keep her on as long as possible to avoid another Carpal Tunnel union case and addition to their already challenging disability numbers.
In considering all this, it occurred to me that the grocery store risk management department should consider a couple of new strategies:
- Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome suffering employees work one-day on the check stand and then the next day monitoring the self-check aisles.
- Divide half the checkout stands in the store facing the other way, thus forcing the employees to use their other hand, and rotate the employees every other day to a different facing checkout stand.
- Increase the number of self-checkout stands.
- Rotate checkers with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to other parts of the store, deli section, produce section, etc.
- Invest in R&D to come up with a viable exo-skeleton wearable solution through the grocery store industry association.
- Put out a research grant to university bio-mimicry engineering students to solve the problem.
Well, there you have my advice for today, this of course comes from my entrepreneurial brain as a problem solver. The money spent to find a solution or change-up the routines of employees should be welcomed by all; unions, shareholders, employees, and the good old risk management specialists of the largest grocery store chains. Please consider all this and think on it.