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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Are Retail Worker Injuries Common?

As the holiday season is well underway, many retail workers are feeling the brunt of working extra hours.

With this in mind, a few years ago, Safety and Health Magazine had an interesting story saying that studies indicate that injuries among retail workers are disproportionately higher than injuries in other job sectors.

According to the news outlet, a 2010 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report found that incidents of injuries and illnesses, in the wholesale and retail trade industries, were high. According to researchers, when studying data from 2006, they discovered that approximately 820,500 injuries and 581 fatalities occurred among the 21 million retail workers in the United States.

Interestingly, although the retail and wholesale industry made up 15.5 percent of private-sector work for the year, it accounted for 20.1 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Researchers discovered that retail employees actually perform a wide array of daily tasks, which can lead to slip, trips and falls, as well as musculoskeletal disorders including sprains, strains, back pain, soreness and carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Depending on the size of the operation, [employers] may underestimate the extent of, or the potential impact of, the amount of physical lifting that’s involved in just stocking shelves and so forth,” one expert said, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

The expert noted that retail outlets with high sales and customer demand put employees at risk for sustaining injuries more than smaller businesses do. He said to avoid issues with workplace accidents, retailers should set rules to mitigate risks, including limits on work time and advice for employees when lifting items.

I Was Injured Working in Retail. What Are My Legal Options?

If you are injured at any jobsite, including a retail outlet, you may want to talk to an attorney about collecting workers’ compensation benefits. If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be able to obtain money for lost income and have your medical bills paid.

Musculoskeletal disorders can be especially troubling for retail workers, as they can leave victims unable to function on the job. For someone with a fixed-income, this situation can be quite stressful.

Retailers have a duty to keep employees safe! While you are out shopping this season, remember to treat these workers well…the holidays can be a very stressful time for retail employees, as they work long hours and are asked to perform more tasks.

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