As retail outlets get bigger and bigger, the percentage of retail workers getting injured on the job and filing Workers’ Compensation claims has increased. Further, big box stores that resemble warehouses can present hazards like large items falling from shelves, forklift accidents, and worse.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report from 2016 showed that these workers had a combined rate of injury and illness of 3.3 percent, which was higher than construction industry workers.
Causes of Retail Worker Accidents
Frequently moving store products around can be dangerous; items can fall, workers can trip, and bones can get broken. There are, of course, other risks of injuries; cuts, bruises, musculoskeletal injuries and overexertion are also common.
Another cause of these accidents is when people are hurrying to get their jobs done, and not paying attention. When there is pressure to work faster, they might not be using the proper safety techniques.
Also, if retail workers are not properly trained, they can make serious mistakes that can injure themselves and others. Employees under the age of 24 and newer employees are at a higher risk, since they may have less experience.
Musculoskeletal Injuries and Overexertion
Musculoskeletal and overexertion injuries, injuries and strains to the tissue, bones, muscles and tendons, occur when individuals move incorrectly when doing a task. They can happen from one incident or build up over time.
Symptoms include inflammation, pain, stiffness, and burning sensations. Most often, they occur when people lift heavy items or perform repetitive motions; the injuries are felt in the hands, arms, shoulders, backs, and necks.
Employee training can go a long way towards preventing these injuries. Workers must be shown how to lift and carry bulky and weighty items. Training sessions should focus on warming up muscles beforehand, wearing protective equipment like gloves, using tools like hand trucks, practicing good posture, and lifting with the legs rather than just the back and arms.
When carrying something, arms should be kept close to the body and the carrier should have a clear path that they can see. Bending and twisting should be avoided.
Slipping and Falling
Eliminating workplace hazards is the first step towards decreasing slips and falls in retail environments. Wearing non-slip footwear and paying attention at all times are essential. Walkways and parking lots should be clear of debris and kept clean and dry; spills should be cleaned up immediately, as should ice, snow, and any other moisture.
Adequate lighting, ongoing maintenance of surface cracks, and proactively identifying and reporting slips and falls are also excellent safety guidelines.
Other Retail Worker Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis can be caused by repeating the same tasks; inflammation, numbness, weakness and joint pain are symptomatic of RSIs. They can become more painful over time, and could lead to permanent problems. Varying work responsibilities, using proper gripping techniques, slowing down, and using better posture can help.
Cuts and serious lacerations can occur when employees use sharp tools, like knives and box cutters. It is important to be careful around them; again, proper training is key. All employees should wear gloves, use the correct tools, and proceed slowly; tools should be stored away carefully when not in use.
Wilmington Workplace Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Retail Workers
If you have been injured doing retail work, you need the services of the experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call our office today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free case consultation. From our offices in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Wilmington, Dover, Newark, and Middletown, Delaware, as well as across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.