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What kinds of injuries are most common in retail?
This time of year, many retailers are planning to increase hiring ahead of the holiday season. A lot of Americans take a second job over the holidays to earn a little extra money, including many high school and college students. People who’ve had a job loss or reduction in hours this year may find some financial relief as stores and distribution centers staff up to accommodate holiday shoppers.
Working in retail may not appear to be one of the more dangerous ways to make a living. However, retail workers were more likely to suffer a work-related injury or illness than manufacturing workers in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some of the most commonly reported injuries include:
- Muscle sprains, strains and overexertion: These typically are caused by lifting, pulling and pushing heavy items improperly or simply repetitively.
- Cuts and punctures: These are common among employees who use box cutters, scissors and other sharp objects to open boxes. Masking and packing tape dispensers for sealing packages and gift wrapping can cause serious cuts also
- Fractures: These can occur on when workers slip or trip on floors that are slippery from spills or tripping hazards. People who fall from a ladder can suffer severe fractures, concussions and more.
- “Struck-by” injuries: An item falling from a high shelf, even if it’s not particularly heavy, can cause serious injuries.
Proper training can help prevent many of these injuries. Employees who are going to be stocking shelves, moving merchandise or even decorating the store need to know how to correctly lift and move things. They need to know how to safely use a ladder. They also need to be careful about not leaving items on the floor where someone (whether an employee or customer) can trip over them or to block pathways.
It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their staff (including temporary and/or part-time employees) are properly trained. Too often, when things get busy, that training is inadequate or nonexistent.
Employers also need to be careful about overworking employees. While many seasonal employees are happy to take all of the hours they can get, working long hours and late shifts can increase a person’s likelihood of suffering an injury.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, it’s essential to get the compensation you need to deal with medical bills, lost wages and more. Find out about your rights to workers’ compensation.