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Retail clothing store worker

This role involves greeting customers and offering assistance in selecting apparel and accessories, while promoting sales through positive customer service efforts.

Duties include:

  • store organisation and cleaning
  • unpacking stock
  • restocking/merchandising
  • monitoring fitting rooms
  • checkout work
  • stocktake
  • administration paperwork
  • banking.

Tasks and tools used

  • ladder/step ladder for stocking shelves
  • garment hook (long metal pole with hook)
  • scanning products and taking payment via the cash register and EFTPOS machine.

Critical physical job demands and other task requirements

Activity Level

Rare (0-5%)

Frequent (34-66%)

Occasional (6-33%)

Constant (67-100%)

Force Exertion

  • Minimum = pushing / pulling / lifting between 0-10kg of force
  • Moderate = pushing / pulling / lifting between 10-20kg of force
  • Maximum = pushing / pulling / lifting greater than 20kg of force

Task Description

Physical Capacity/Demands

Paperwork and office administration including occasional computer-based tasks

  • Frequent neck flexion and some upper truck flexion
  • Frequent unilateral or bilateral shoulder flexion, and forearm flexion
  • Frequent unilateral or bilateral fine motor/finger control
  • Occasional sitting at the computer (appropriate ergonomics should be applied)

Banking:

This task requires worker to leave premise, handling a sum of money to be deposited at the appropriate bank.

  • Constant standing/walking
  • Frequent unilateral or bilateral forearm flexion while carrying
  • Occasional unilateral fine motor/finger control

Opening and closing of shop doors:

Performed at opening/closing and if required.

Sliding or concertina doors need to be pushed to the slide to be opened or closed.

Roller or strut doors must be pushed or pulled from the floor or ceiling into position. The struts (height of door) must be lifted in to or out of position and stored.

If the doors can not be moved easily, this should be performed by two people.

  • Constant standing
  • Frequent bilateral forearm flexion pushing/pulling against minimal loads

Roller / Strut doors

  • Frequent sustained neck flexion looking up / down at the strut placement
  • Frequent sustained bilateral shoulder abduction and forearm flexion holding minimal loads to place/ remove struts
  • Constant bilateral gripping and lifting of minimal loads to place / remove struts
  • Occasional unilateral or bilateral shoulder adduction and forearm flexion to place hook on roller
  • Frequent bilateral pulling down or pushing up minimal to moderate loads (roller doors)

Placement of clothing trolleys around store and at store entrance:

Performed at opening and closing.

Clothing trolleys are stacked close together at end of the day and then moved out to create space in the store opening.

The heavier items are generally moved the shortest distance.

The clothing trolleys can be fully stocked at the start/end of the day and can weigh between 30-50kg.

If the trolley can not be moved easily, this should be performed by two people.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent pushing / pulling of maximal loads exerting force at waist height
  • Frequent bilateral sustained shoulder and forearm flexion while pushing / pulling
  • Occasional knee flexion and foot plantar flexion against minimal loads to apply the brake

Placement of clothing racks around and out the front of the store:

Performed at opening and closing.

Clothing racks are stacked close together at end of the day and then moved out to create space in the store opening.

The heavier items are generally moved the shortest distance.

The clothing racks can be fully stocked at the start/end of the day and can weigh between 30-40kg.

If the trolley can not be moved easily, this should be performed by two people.

Generally one hand is placed on the support pole and the other on the cross piece of the clothing rack for manoeuvring.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent pushing / pulling of maximal loads exerting force at shoulder height
  • Frequent bilateral sustained shoulder and forearm flexion while pushing / pulling
  • Occasional neck flexion / rotation to ensure the path is clear
  • Occasional knee flexion and foot plantar flexion against minimal loads to apply the brake

Obtaining single garments from wall mounted clothing racks:

This is done when required by a customer.

All staff members can be required to perform this task.

A long thin metal pole with hook is obtained and positioned at the height of the garment to be retrieved. It is then lifted down and lowered to the staff member's hand height.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent sustained neck flexion while looking for garment
  • Frequent sustained unilateral or bilateral holding of minimal loads (hook weight while searching)
  • Occasional sustained unilateral or bilateral holding / lifting of minimal loads at an extended distance from the centre of the body. Workers should stand as close to the base of the clothing rack as possible to minimise the load.

Ladder work:

This is done when required by a customer or restocking of wall mounted clothing racks is required.

Ladders can be between 1.4 and 2.5 meters in height. They are Aluminium and have spring loaded wheels which are easy to move. They have a wide platform to stand on and rail to hold on to at the top. As soon as weight is applied they hold their group and do not move.

Ladders should be used to retrieve single items only, from shelves or clothing racks.

Workers are advised to move only items that they can safely carry in one hand. The ladder should be placed close to the item to reduce over reaching.

  • Occasional to frequent pushing of minimal loads to position the ladder
  • Constant standing / walking / step climbing
  • Frequent neck flexion up and down to judge position on the ladder
  • Frequent unilateral carrying of minimal loads up or down ladder steps
  • Frequent sustained bilateral shoulder abduction / flexion and forearm flexion at shoulder height while placing and removing garments from the clothing rack

Taking delivery of boxes of stock:

3-4 times per week delivery driver delivers stock to the store.

Boxes are placed in stocks of 3-4 wide and 4-5 high.

Sometimes they are required to be moved manually by workers to another part of the store. Boxes are moved one box at a time, from top to bottom, using correct manual handling techniques.

Boxes can weigh between 5kg – 16kg (generally) and can usually be carried with ease. Some may be a large dimension that can not be carried as easily. These should be moved by two people.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent lifting / carrying of minimal to moderate loads ranging from starting positions between shoulder height and ground level.
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion while carrying

Unpacking of stock:

This is done continuously throughout the day as stock is either placed on the shop floor or in storage.

Boxes are unpacked from the top of the stack to the bottom. As each box is emptied it is flattened and removed to storage.

The boxes are opened and the stock taken handfuls at a time to the correct area of the shop.

The box is opened by hand. Plastic wrap surrounding contents is removed by hand. Plastic wrap and desiccant packs are then picked up from the floor and placed in the bin.

Each box has an invoice form which is removed by hand from the outside of the box. Stock is checked off as it is placed on the clothing racks.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent lifting / carrying of minimal to moderate loads ranging from starting positions between shoulder height and ground level.
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion while carrying
  • Occasional to frequent squatting depending on height of the box and to pick rubbish from the floor
  • Constant tearing action to open plastic packaging (pulling both arms outwards against minimal forces).
  • Constant fine motor / finger control during tearing action and checking off invoice.

Restocking clothing trolleys:

This is completed as required when stock levels are low or boxes of stock have been received.

Stock is unpacked as per 'unpacking of stock' requirements above, then placed on the clothing trolley and arranged nearly for presentation.

Clothes are placed on waist high tray or ankle high tray of the clothing trolley.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent lifting / carrying of minimal to moderate loads ranging from starting positions between shoulder height and ground level
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion while carrying
  • Frequent shifting of minimal loads short distances at waist height when arranging stock on top tray
  • Occasional to frequent squatting or one knee lunge when placing stock on the lower tray
  • Frequent neck flexion when arranging stock

Restocking wall mounted clothing racks / shelves:

This is completed as required when stock levels are low or boxes of stock have been received.

Stock is unpacked as per 'unpacking of stock' requirements above, and then taken up a ladder to be placed on the clothing rack or shelf and arranged neatly for presentation.

Placement of stock is at shoulder and waist height.

Workers are to carry stock in one hand only, and only as much as what is comfortable. The ladder is to be moved along the clothing rack and placed to avoid overreaching.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent ladder step climbing
  • Frequent bilateral lifting / carrying of minimal loads ranging from starting positions between shoulder height and ground level (to take stock to the ladder)
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion while carrying
  • Frequent sustained unilateral shoulder and forearm flexion holding minimal to moderate loads at a distance from the centre of the body. While placing hangers on the clothing racks, workers should be as close to the rack as possible to avoid overreaching
  • Frequent neck flexion when arranging stock
  • Frequent unilateral gripping and fine motor control while arranging hangers

Flattening boxes and taking to storage:

This is completed as required when boxes of stock are emptied.

A few flattened boxes (within the workers comfort levels) can be moved to storage at a time.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent tearing action to open out the ends of the boxes (pulling both arms outwards against minimal force)
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion whilst carrying
  • Occasional neck flexion and squatting to retrieve flattened boxes from ground level

Excess stock taken to / retrieved from storage:

This is completed as required when boxes are emptied and stock does not all fit on the floor.

This is only available at stores that have racked and shelved storage areas.

May require stair and ladder climbing/ Involves taking unpacked stock or full boxes to the storage area and ladder work to place on clothing racks / shelves.

Workers carry stock to the storage area with both hands within comfort levels, or one box at a time

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Occasional to frequent stair or ladder step climbing as required
  • Occasional to frequent pushing against minimal forces to position the ladder
  • Frequent bilateral lifting / carrying of minimal to moderate loads ranging from starting positions between shoulder height and ground level (to move stock to storage)
  • Frequent sustained bilateral forearm flexion while carrying
  • Frequent unilateral lifting / carrying of minimal loads up the ladder to place on clothing racks
  • Frequent sustained unilateral shoulder and forearm flexion holding minimal to moderate loads at a distance from the centre of the body (while placing hangers on the clothing racks, workers should be as close to the   clothing rack as possible).
  • Occasional to frequent neck flexion and squatting while placing stock below waist height.

Checkout work:

This is completed by workers following a sale

The worker steps being the counter, removes tags/coat hangers, scans the item/s, places item/s in a bag/s and processes the transaction.

  • Constant standing
  • Frequent lifting / shifting of minimal to moderate loads to place in bags
  • Frequent unilateral gripping of minimal loads to operate the scanner
  • Frequent fine motor/finger control to operate register, remove tags and coat hangers
  • Occasional bending to obtain bags from under the counter
  • Occasional to frequent neck flexion when shifting purchases
  • No upper back twisting provided the worker moves their feet to directly face the task at hand

Placing size identification clips on to coat hangers:

This is completed by workers after the clothes have been placed on the hangers on the clothing racks.

The sizes of the clothes are checked and then clips are placed on to the hanger to identify the size of the clothing.

  • Constant standing
  • Frequent sustained shoulder flexion at shoulder height to shift clothes on the clothing racks and place clips
  • Frequent neck flexion to view sizes and pick appropriate clip
  • Frequent bilateral gripping of minimal loads to pick the clips and steady the hanger
  • Frequent fine motor/finger control to place clips on hangers

Stock take:

This is completed throughout the year as required, to determinate when orders need to be placed, and to ensure the stock count is accurate.

It can be completed up to three times per week or upon request. The task is shared between workers to avoid fatigue.

It involves the worker individually scanning each item in the store with a portable hand held scanner and then connecting it to the store computer to upload the data.

It can involve scanning items from ankle to ceiling height with the use of a ladder.

Workers are to move the ladder along the clothing racks as necessary to avoid over reaching.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Occasional to frequent ladder step climbing as required
  • Occasional to frequent pushing against minimal forces to position the ladder
  • Frequent unilateral gripping and carrying of minimal load (scanner)
  • Frequent sustained unilateral shoulder and forearm flexion at shoulder height folding minimal loads at a distance from the centre of the body (while scanning items on clothing racks, workers should be within easy reach of the clothing to avoid overreaching)
  • Frequent unilateral shifting, lifting and rotating minimal loads to position barcode for scanning
  • Frequent neck flexion, squatting or one knee lunge while scanning stock below waist height

Store refit:

This may be completed up to three times in a year, when a store is opened or following a refurbishment.

Teams of 5-6 workers usually undertake the refit. It involves changing the layout and position of shelves and wall mounted clothing racks in the store.

All stock must first be removed from the clothing racks; the clothing racks are then dismantled with a rubber mallet between waist and shoulder height, then transported around the store and re-assembled; stock is then replaced on the clothing racks.

When disassembling and assembling from the ladder, the ladder should be supported at the base by a second worker due to the forces involved.

  • Constant standing / walking
  • Frequent unilateral and bilateral lifting / carrying of minimal to moderate loads and placing between waist height and ground level (items of clothing)
  • Frequent sustained forearm flexion holding minimal to moderate loads while carrying items
  • Occasional to frequent pushing against minimal forces to position the ladder
  • Frequent ladder step climbing as required
  • Frequent unilateral gripping and carrying of minimal loads up and down the ladder
  • Frequent sustained unilateral shoulder and forearm flexion at shoulder height holding minimal loads at a distance from the centre of the body (while placing / removing items on clothing racks / shelve; workers should be as close to the clothing rack as possible to avoid overreaching)
  • Frequent upward / downward application of moderate forces with a mallet to the clothing racks. This may be applied at waist, shoulder and above shoulder height while standing on a ladder
  • Occasional pushing / pulling of maximal loads to reposition clothing trolleys and ground clothing racks (if clothing racks can not be easily moved, two persons should attend to the task)
  • Frequent squatting or one knee lunge while placing / removing items below waist height
  • Frequent neck flexion while re-positioning clothing racks and stock

Suitable duties

  • goals must be clear, realistic and achievable
  • must have 'buy-in' from the worker
  • worker helps to set the goals, and must be answerable if goals are not met (this allows barriers to return to work to be identified at an early stage and obstacles overcome)
  • workers need to understand they have an obligation to participate in rehabilitation and return to work as per Section 232 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act).

Return to work suggestions

Worker can begin with light duties and include more tasks as their capacity for work changes. We'll work with all parties, including the treating medical provider, employer and worker to ensure everyone is aware of where the worker is with their rehabilitation and stay at, or return to work.

Note: some tasks are dependent on worker's injury and capacity, and some tasks may require the assistance of a co-worker.

Offsite

Return to work can begin at home for those having difficulty with transport, medication or the injury prevents them from returning to work.

If the worker needs to take a break from work, their rehabilitation can still begin at home. Tasks can include:

  • video on safety issues can be viewed (lying in bed if injury type requires)
  • computer-based programs, CDs or DVD on work-related subjects
  • phone-based work
  • emails
  • training
  • other worksite inductions
  • checking or auditing paperwork, e.g. helping the WHSO audit lost time injuries (LTIs) for a six month period.

Host employment

In the event an employer is unable to provide suitable duties, a host placement may be required. If this is the case, the worker may be placed at a different employer in a graduated return to work plan until they're able to 'upgrade' back to his/her pre-injury role with their pre-injury employer.

WorkCover's Recover at work program places injured workers in short term host employment with employers who have an established track record of successful return to work outcomes with their own workers.