Retail work is often a good choice for young adults looking to begin supporting themselves. Most retail careers require minimal training or education. Workers may only need a few days of on-the-job training to provide customer service and properly operate a cash register.
Businesses and individuals tend to view retail work as unskilled and relatively safe. Therefore, retail workers often earn very low wages. Some businesses only pay minimum wage for the labor of hourly retail employees. Despite relatively low wages and minimal training, there are actually significant hazards that can lead to injuries among retail workers. The following are three of the most common safety concerns for retail professionals.
Any worker could slip and fall while on the job, as rushing and dangerous facilities are possible in any industry. Retail workers often feel intense pressure during their shifts due to understaffing and high expectations from employers. Even when they wear shoes that offer decent traction, retail employees are at risk of slipping and falling. A slip-and-fall or same-level fall could lead to broken bones, brain injuries and soft tissue injuries. Injured workers may miss multiple weeks of work and may have large medical expenses related to a job that does not offer medical insurance.
Needing to obtain stock from a warehouse or tidy up shelves during a shift could lead to a worker getting hurt by falling items. Poorly-shelved items, possibly moved by customers, can tumble off of shelving units and strike workers cleaning up at the end of a long day. Any warehouse or storage space in the rear of the business could also lead to workers getting hurt by falling objects. Struck-by incidents in retail environments can lead to brain injuries and broken bones that leave someone unable to work until they fully recover.
There has been a noticeable increase in criminal activity at retail establishments in recent years. Often, the crimes that occur are property offenses, like shoplifting. Shoplifters typically try to avoid interacting with workers and hide items to exit the shop without anyone detecting the theft. However, some shoplifting is more aggressive than others. Someone dashing out the door with an item that has security tags attached might knock a worker down as they flee. Those attempting to rob or burglarize a business may enter the premises with a weapon, thereby increasing the likelihood of severe worker injury.
Workers’ compensation can help provide wage replacement in the form of disability benefits and medical coverage for those hurt at a retail job. Understanding the risks inherent in different lines of work and the rights of injured workers may inspire people to make a claim when they qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.