Retail workers face high rates of injury. Although their jobs do not usually include heavy equipment, in some years the rate of retail worker injuries is on par with the injury rate in the construction industry. Unfortunately, at this time of year, retail workers may be especially at risk.
If you are a retail worker in Homestead or anywhere in South Florida, worker injuries are a real concern at this time of year for a few reasons. Retail workers during the holidays are often hired as seasonal workers, and this may mean they are less used to the hazards of the workplace. Since this is the busiest season for retail, workers may also be more likely to deal with crowds, aggressive shoppers, long hours (leading to on-the-job fatigue), and large stacks of inventory.
The crowds during holiday sales are a special concern for retail workers. Big sales after thanksgiving and during the later part of the year are designed to draw considerable crowds. At some stores, customers line up outside the store hours before opening and rush into the store. It is often up to workers to try to manage the crowds. These “door crasher” holiday sales have the potential to create many types of injuries:
- Crushing and suffocating injuries caused by stampeding customers
- Physical injuries caused by aggressive customers
- Trip and fall and slip and fall injuries caused by spilled and broken products
- Crushing injuries and head injuries caused by products falling from full shelves or being pushed from shelves
- Strain injuries caused by long hours
- Back injuries caused by lifting heavy purchases or by standing on one’s feet for long hours
Retailers can help reduce the risk of injury by hiring extra security to control crowds and by having holiday sales which do not encourage crowds. For example, allowing customers to buy a special product at a special price online can reduce crowds, as can extending a sale by a few days and ordering enough products to give customers a chance to buy without having to crowd the store. Retailers can also help employees avoid injuries by offering adequate training and by hiring enough staff to ensure workers are supported.
Further, owners of stores can pay fair overtime (as they are required to by law) to ensure employees work reasonable hours and do not have to show up at work too tired to work safely. They can also stack products carefully and have systems in place to ensure spilled products and hazards are handled quickly.
If you have been injured as a retail worker during a holiday sale and have been having trouble getting workers’ compensation or if you are being denied overtime pay, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) to speak to a Homestead personal injury attorney. Our South Florida legal team can arrange a free, confidential, no obligation consultation for you so can get a case review.