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Retail worker injury: A Common Problem at This Time of Year

The injury and illness rate of retail workers is disproportionately high. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014 the injury and illness rate for retail workers was 3.6 per 100 workers (based on reported incidents). In comparison, the rate of injury and illnesses across all industries was 3.4 per 100 workers. Retail workers that year actually had the same rate of injury as workers in the construction industry.

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Why are Retail Jobs Dangerous?

Many factors can lead to on-the-job injuries for Hollywood and South Florida retail workers:

1) High job turnover rates.

The very structure of retail jobs can potentially lead to injuries. Many retail jobs pay minimum wage or slightly above it, leading to high job turnover, temporary workers, part-time workers, or very young workers. In many stores, for example, workers are likely to be students or teens who may change jobs from time to time. High turnovers aren’t necessarily a problem, but they can mean workers don’t get thorough safety training, simply because they may not be on the job long enough.

2) Lack of training or understanding about safety issues.

Many people assume that jobs such as construction work are automatically more dangerous, so more care is taken to ensure construction workers have safety equipment, safety training, and other forms of support to keep them safe. Many people mistakenly assume that retail jobs are much safer, meaning there is less attention paid to preventing injuries on the job.

3) Heavy objects.

One of the more common injuries sustained in retail jobs are musculoskeletal injuries, which can happen if workers carry or lift heavy objects – such as boxes of inventory. It’s important that retail workers use dollies, forklifts, or other tools to lift heavy objects.

4) High shelves.

High shelves pose a risk in a number of ways. If a worker has to retrieve an item from a high shelf for inventory or for a customer, they may fall from a height, especially if they use a ladder to climb up. Object on high shelves can also topple over or fall, leading to obstructions on the floor and potential slip and fall or trip and fall accidents.

5) Busy stores.

Busy stores can mean a higher than average chance of falling objects and debris on the floors, which can mean a greater risk of slips and injuries.

6) Aggressive customers.

Although it’s rare, customers will sometimes act aggressively towards workers. In addition, workers may be at risk if they have to arrive at a store early or have to stay late in order to open and close the store. If they have to walk to and from their car when there are fewer people around, they may be at risk of a mugging or theft. If a store is targeted by thieves, retail workers may be at risk if they are inside when burglars break in.

7) Crowds.

Heavy crowds, especially during holiday sales, can lead to pushing and shoving, trampling incidents, and other work injuries for retail workers.

Unfortunately, holidays can mean an even bigger risk for retail workers. The larger crowds, more hectic schedules, and larger groups of temporary and seasonal retail staff can mean there is an even less of a focus on safety. While some stores take customer safety and worker safety very seriously, not all do.

If you work in a retail environment and have been injured, don’t hesitate to contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our work injury attorneys would be pleased to review your case and to tell you whether you have a claim.