Whether shopping for holiday gifts, buying groceries or simply running household errands, few consumers realize just how dangerous it is to work in retail. Retail workers face a number of on-the-job risks that can lead to both workplace injuries and illnesses. This means that your safety could be in question every time that you clock in at work.
This may come as a surprise to some people who are not familiar with the physical demands of these jobs. For example, retail workers often spend long hours on their feet without many — if any — opportunities to sit down. Safety concerns also tend to get worse during the last few months of the year when the holiday season is in full gear.
Things are getting worse
In 2018, shopping mall employees and workers at similar outlets had a higher rate of injury and illness than in 2017. This increase made it the only industry to experience a meaningful increase in injury rates in all of the United States. That year, 3.5 out of every 100 retail workers were either injured or fell sick. The greatest increase in nonfatal injuries included:
- General soreness
If fewer than four per 100 workers suffering injuries does not seem like a big deal, it might help to put things into perspective. In 2017, only 3.4 per 100 manufacturing workers suffered an injury or developed a work-related illness. This means that it is more dangerous to work in a retail store than in a manufacturing setting, like a factory.
Who is most at risk?
There is seemingly no end to the different types of retail establishments in Ohio. These different stores pose different safety hazards to workers. Employees at the following types of stores are generally at higher risk for injury or illness:
- Pet supply stores
- Home furnishings
- Used merchandize
- Building materials
- Tire dealers
Workers at these types of retail locations experienced more injuries in 2018 than they did in 2017. Pet store employees face perhaps the greatest risk of all, though. For every 100 pet store workers, seven suffered a nonfatal injury in 2018.
Getting the right help
The number of retail workers suffering lacerations, fractures and contusions also went up in 2017. As these and other common injuries demonstrate, retail work is far more dangerous than the average person realizes. You might not have even realized how precarious your own safety at work was until something happened.
Many retail workers earn minimum wage or close to it, which means you might not have the financial wiggle room to handle your medical bills. You should not wait to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if you are out of work because of your injuries. These benefits are often key to financially surviving serious workplace injuries. Working closely with an experienced attorney can allow you to get the help you need.