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Top 5 Job Hazards for Retail Workers

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Hazards exist in every industry, and the retail sector is no exception. People who work in retail face several risks every day while on the job. Retail workers suffer different work-related injuries far more often than most people realize. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that in 2018 alone, there were 409,900 injuries and illnesses in the retail sector. Understanding some of the hazards of retail work can help workers remain safe on the job. It can help employers know what steps to take to ensure employees are safe. Below, we discuss the top five job hazards for retail workers.

Overexertion

Workers in the retail industry are at a high risk of suffering overexertion injuries. Overexertion occurs when a person pushes their body beyond the limits it can handle. In the retail sector, overexertion can occur due to various factors related to the physical demands of the job. Retail workers stand for long hours and perform repetitive tasks, such as carrying heavy items, scanning items at the checkout, and stocking shelves. Some of the common overexertion injuries retail workers suffer include carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, and back pain.

Lifting and Handling Items

Lifting and handling items is integral to the retail industry. Retail workers often have to move large or heavy items. They often have to load and offload shipments and arrange displays. If proper lifting and handling techniques are not used, it can result in serious harm. Improper lifting and handling can cause, among other things, strains, sprains, joint injuries, and herniated discs. Unfortunately, even a one-time event of improperly lifting or handling items can have devastating consequences.

Following proper lifting techniques can help prevent injuries. Proper lifting techniques include bending your knees and not your back, keeping the load close, and avoiding twisting your body when lifting or carrying.

Being Struck by or Against Objects

Retail workers are at a high risk of being struck by or against objects. For example, a retail worker may be hit by a falling product or against a fixture or shelf. Employees can be struck by equipment such as carts, forklifts, or trucks. Doors or entrances are also striking hazards in the retail industry. Depending on how hard you are hit and the object’s size, weight, and shape, you may suffer a severe injury after being struck by or against an object.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls are quite common in retail stores. According to the BLS, of the injuries that resulted in a retail worker missing at least a day away from work in 2018, over 34,000 were from slips, trips, and falls. Slip, trip, and fall accidents in retail stores can happen for various reasons, including wet floors, poor lighting, and loose floor mats. Unfortunately, slip, trip, and fall accidents can result in serious injuries such as sprains, strains, back injuries, head injuries, and fractures.

Box Cutters and Other Sharp Objects

If box cutters and other sharp objects are not stored or handled safely, it can result in serious injuries. Retail workers can avoid getting injured by box cutters and other sharp objects by utilizing secure storage solutions, undergoing training, and using protective gear.

Legal Help Is Available

Retail workers who suffer injuries while on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Seeking legal guidance promptly after an incident can help injured workers protect their legal rights. For legal help, contact our qualified Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer at Connolly Injury Law.

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