Industrial Athlete Focus: Grocery Store Employees

Published - Jun 22, 2020

Grocery store employees are a critical component of the essential workforce serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring that our communities have continued access to food and other necessities, these individuals fulfill an especially valued and necessary role during these unprecedented times.

Relevant now more than ever, it is important for grocery store employees and their employers to prioritize health and wellbeing. Lair Heslop, athletic trainer for IRG’s industrial athlete program, provides the following information regarding the necessity of incorporating an athletic training approach into this setting.

Grocery store employees are especially prone to ailments related to overexertion. These injuries are acute, resulting from one specific event, such as lifting a heavy object incorrectly. This incorrect movement can result in muscular strain, often transpiring in the lower back.

Slips, trips, and falls are also occurrences to be aware of in grocery stores. These accidents can stem from situations such as falling off of a stocking ladder, or slipping in a puddle. Injuries such as these can cause sprains, bruises, and concussions.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are also important to be cognizant of. RSIs are overuse injuries, caused by repetitive actions that cause abnormal stress on the tissues. These occur often in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Employees responsible for tasks such as stocking shelves, moving carts, or operating a cash register could be susceptible to an RSI.

In active work environments such as grocery stores, risk of injury is always present. However, there are preventative steps that can be taken to combat the occurrence and progression of these injuries. Heslop recommends the following:

  • Educate employees on proper techniques for lifting, pushing and pulling. Additionally, provide individuals with the resources to utilize assistance in these scenarios whenever possible, such as from other workers or from machines.
  • Implement proper warm-up exercises and stretching routines for important muscle groups before and after shifts.
  • Show employees the proper and most ergonomic way to perform a repetitive action, if the activity cannot be eliminated.
  • Improve employee balance and proprioception through exercise.
  • Reiterate the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings.

Taking the time to make sure employees are healthy can help an organization save money, remain productive and maintain an overall happier staff. Heslop believes that athletic trainers can be a beneficial addition to any team, whether it be within the sport setting, or alongside an industrial or corporate organization.

IRG’s industrial athlete program is customizable to the needs of any active industry, through its emphasis on employee performance, recovery and mentality. Learn more about the industrial athlete program here