Retail workers are constantly moving, ensuring customers have a smooth shopping experience. Unfortunately, this movement can also lead to accidents, causing injuries to retail store workers or even customers.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail industry reported about 409,900 workplace injuries and illnesses in 2018 alone. While employees can suffer a wide range of injuries while working in a retail store, here are six common injuries your employees might face and how to prevent them.
Muscle Strains And Sprains
Muscle strains and sprains are among the most common injuries suffered by retail workers. In fact, they account for over 30 percent of all injuries in the retail industry.
Retail workers can experience muscle strains and sprains when they subject specific muscles to excessive force, resulting in the tearing of the muscle fibers. This can lead to pain and swelling, which limits mobility. If not promptly treated, muscle strains and sprains can lead to long-term disability.
An excellent way to prevent these injuries is by ensuring you stretch your muscles before and after a long day of physically demanding tasks. Moreover, avoid carrying heavy loads for long distances as this strains your muscles excessively.
Cuts and Lacerations
Retail workers often have to deal with sharp objects, such as scissors and knives, to cut items for customers. While these tools make work easier, they also pose a significant risk of cuts if the user is not careful.
Cuts and lacerations caused by sharp objects can result in significant blood loss and infection. They can also leave permanent scars that can hurt your self-esteem and confidence.
Therefore, always wear protective gloves when handling sharp objects to reduce the risk of cuts and lacerations. Additionally, store any dangerous tools and equipment in a secure area.
From shelves falling on your head to knockbacks from stacked goods, there are many ways an object can strike you at work. Retail employees working in warehouses or stockrooms are especially at risk of suffering struck-by injuries. That’s because they are often surrounded by boxes and other hazards.
Struck-by injuries can range in severity, depending on the force of the object that hit you. You may suffer minor cuts, bruises, or serious head injuries resulting in brain damage or even death.
An excellent way to stay safe from struck-by injuries is following safe lifting practices and wearing protective gear, such as hard hats and eyewear, where necessary. Also, always secure any loose items that have the potential to fall and cause injury.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Of the 409,900 retail store injuries reported in 2018, about 34,100 were due to slip and fall accidents. These injuries often result from wet floors, cluttered walkways, or slippery surfaces. Retail employees required to work at heights can also suffer falls from ladders or scaffoldings.
Slips and falls often result in severe injuries such as fractures, torn ligaments, and head injuries. In some cases, they may even lead to death.
You can minimize the risk of employees falling at a retail store by mandating anti-slip shoes and ensuring your pathways are debris-free. Also, always use safety harnesses and equipment to prevent falls if required to work at height.
However, if your employee has suffered an injury due to a slip and fall, they may be eligible for financial compensation. Munley Law personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal options as an employer, and work with you through the entire process.
Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Many retail stores have adopted a delivery model requiring employees to deliver goods to customers. Though convenient, this arrangement presents several risks to employees, including motor vehicle accidents that could result in severe injuries or even death.
If you work for a retail company with a delivery model, always take safety precautions while on the road. Ideally, you should follow all traffic rules, drive at a safe speed, and avoid distracted driving. In addition, if you make deliveries on a motorcycle, wear a helmet and check your bike to ensure it is in good condition before hitting the road.
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