Retail is a generic term for businesses that sell items directly to the end-user. Department stores and supermarkets are two of the biggest examples of retail. However, it also includes specialty stores that focus on the sale of a specific product, such as tires or auto parts, sporting goods, pet supplies, building materials, etc.
Many people may not think of retail as an inherently dangerous occupation. Nevertheless, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of total recordable cases of workplace injuries for retail workers increased from 3.3 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers to 3.5 cases between 2017 and 2018. Retail was the only sector of private industry to record any increase.
Are some workers at greater risk for injury than others?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retail workers under age 25 are at greater risk of injury than more experienced workers. Many factors may account for this. The workers may not know to ask questions about safety, or the employers may provide inadequate training.
What types of injuries do retail workers sustain?
Approximately one-third of all retail injuries requiring days away from work are soft tissue injuries, such as tears, strains or sprains. Per 10,000 full-time equivalent retail workers, the incidence of such injuries requiring days off from work was 38.4 in 2018.
What types of accidents cause these injuries?
In 2017 and 2018, the two most common job-related accidents requiring days off from work among retail workers were falls, slips and trips along with contact with objects and equipment, e.g., a worker bumping into something or an object falling on him or her. Not only did these types of accidents increase within the retail sector between 2017 and 2018 but the incidence of these accidents among retail workers was higher than in the private sector in general.
Retail workers serve a vital function. The hazards inherent in their work should receive more recognition.