The number of reported accidents in the wholesale and retail sector fell in 2010/11, according to latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures.

Across the board, work-related illness fell by 113,000 to 1.2 million, self-reported injuries leading to absence from work for more than three days fell by an estimated 31,000 to 200,000, while over three-day injuries reported by employers fell by 6% in the year. Rates were highest for less experienced workers.

Of the 12 industry sectors surveyed, the wholesale and retail sector had the third lowest rate for workplace illness and injury in 2010/11.

“Workplace accidents in the independent grocery sector still predominantly involve slips, trips and falls due to poor cleaning regimes, and poor repair of floor covering,” Andy Cox, spokesman for health and safety consultants Perry Scott Nash told Convenience Store.

“Cuts from using the wrong tool to open boxes, back injuries and pulled muscles from poor manual handling practices (particularly those involving roll cages) and falling off steps whilst retrieving stock are also common.”

Major injuries including broken bones and loss of consciousness must be reported to the Enforcing Authority. Failing to do so can result in a fine of up to £20,000.

“All accidents and near misses also need to be recorded so that retailers can get an idea of accident trends and take action to prevent them happening again,” Cox added.