It’s time for the retail industry to get in shape, according to a report by Monash University.

The report on the results from 500,000 WorkHealth showed retail industry workers were more likely to have a high risk for heart disease when compared with all other industries across Victoria.

Results from WorkSafe Victoria’s free WorkHealth checks conducted among nearly 20,000 retail employees since 2009 showed that one in four are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and nearly half consume alcohol at risky levels.

WorkHealth ambassador and ex-VECCI chief Wayne Kayler-Thomson said the quieter months for the retail industry ahead were the perfect time to look at introducing healthy activities into the workplace, to help encourage workers of all ages to make healthy choices in 2013.

“Some retail employers may believe it’s too challenging to introduce health initiatives and make them accessible for all staff, given the volume of casual workers, high turnover and fast pace environments common to retail. However, there is a lot they can easily do, and it needn’t cost a fortune,” he said.

“For example, the free, confidential WorkHealth checks from WorkSafe can be provided in retail environments, with WorkHealth service providers able to work closely with employers to meet their unique needs.

“Particularly for the retail industry where there are a lot of young workers, who probably don’t see their doctor too often, WorkHealth checks are really effective in helping people understand their health risks and what to do about them.”

Eligible workplaces with 50 per cent or more of their employees participating in the voluntary checks can also access a grant of up to $10,000, to help put in place other healthy activities, such as fruit and vegetable deliveries, bike rack installation, and cooking classes.