North Carolina shoppers might not realize just how tough working in retail can be. Many retail workers earn low wages, work long hours and have few — if any — benefits. Retail work can be dangerous, too. Workplace injuries are not at all uncommon, and victims often have to take time off to recover.
Since retail can refer to stores selling anything from groceries to clothing or hardware supplies, retail workers have exposure to a wide range of dangers. This means that a grocery store worker might be more likely to experience a certain type of work injury, while someone employed at a hardware store could be at a higher risk for something else. Regardless of the risk for specific injuries, most retail workers are vulnerable to some of the following common injuries.
Muscle sprains, strains and cuts
Retail work is surprisingly physical, requiring workers to lift, pull or push different types of merchandise. It may come as no surprise then that sprains and strains are the most commonly reported workplace injury among retailer workers. Sprains and strains also require the most time off too, with an average of about 33 days.
Employers also expect retail workers to use sharp tools to open packages and boxes. These sharp tools are another common source of workplace injuries, particularly when it comes to cuts and punctures to the hands. Employers need to make sure that all workers understand how to use these tools correctly too, as workers are more likely to suffer an injury if used incorrectly.
Falls and falling objects
Slips and falls are the third most commonly reported retail worker injury. A fall can cause a wide range of injuries, from simple bruising to broken bones or worse. Conditions that lead to falls include:
- Wet floors
- Uneven walkways
- Cluttered areas
- Poor parking lot conditions
Falling objects are another risk to retail worker safety. If one does not stack an item properly on a shelf, it can easily topple over the edge and hit a worker. Injuries can be especially severe if a falling object strikes a worker on his or her head. The type of falling object can also influence how mild or severe an injury is.
There is always a risk to getting behind the wheel, but doing so while on the clock might be especially dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — car accidents are either the first or the second number one cause of death in all major industries. Many retail establishments offer delivery services, putting retail workers — many who have not been properly trained — at risk.
Workplace injuries can easily derail your life. While you are out of work recovering, you still have bills, medical debt and other financial obligations piling up. You do not have to suffer on your own, though. Working closely with an experienced attorney rather than by yourself can make the process of securing workers’ compensation benefits much easier.