Working in retail is much more grueling than most people realize. Spending long hours on your feet, moving heavy products and dealing with sometimes dangerous customers makes the retail world uniquely dangerous. Retail work injuries are a scary reality for many people just like you.
Stores and other retail establishments often appear deceptively safe. Part of this could be because many employers in California take safety seriously and implement safety training, equipment and technology when necessary. However, accidents can — and do — happen in even the safest environments.
Dangers in the retail world
While stores and retail establishments all tend to vary a little, they still share many of the same hazards. Some of the most common hazards are present in virtually every retail place. If you work in retail, you are likely to encounter:
- Slippery or wet floors
- Cluttered pathways or aisles
- Workplace violence
- Falling merchandise
- Sharp tools
- Repetitive movements
These are just a handful of situations that can lead to serious workplace injuries. You can also suffer a serious injury if a coworker is purposely ignoring safety rules or acting in a way that can cause harm to others. Some retail workers are even at risk for on-the-job car accidents if they have to travel as part of their jobs.
On-the-job accidents can lead to all kinds of on-the-job injuries. Muscle strains and sprains are some of the common types of retail injuries and can easily put a worker out of commission. According to AmTrust Financial’s Retail Risk Report, the average muscle strain or sprain results in 33 days of missed work.
Falls and slips are the third most common type of retail work injury. Uneven walkways, wet floors and cluttered areas are the main contributors to slip and fall injuries. It is not just falling that workers have to be worried about, either. Falling objects — like heavy products on high shelves — also cause serious harm to workers.
Minimizing worker injuries
Keeping retail environments safe for both workers and customers should be a top priority for all California employers. There are several ways to make the workplace safer, including making sure that all workers have access to things like step ladders to reach items on shelves. Educating workers on safe lifting techniques is another way to minimize injuries.
Retail work injuries are often life-altering. Even if you are on the road to recovery, you still need help addressing things like lost wages and medical bills. Temporary benefits from the workers’ compensation system can be an invaluable tool to help bridge the financial gap before you are ready to get back to work.