It seems that there is never one answer to what job involves the highest risk of work injuries. Many annual studies find that emergency responders and construction workers face some of the highest risks of workplace injuries. While that is undoubtedly true, another unexpected group has surpassed them in recent years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that retail workers suffered work injuries at a higher rate than construction workers in 2016. And the rate of injuries had already been alarmingly high in the years before that.
What caused this increase in retail injuries?
Many people might wonder: why is this increase in retail worker injuries occurring so suddenly?
While there is no specific evidence, the answer to that question is likely the fact that many workers do not report their injuries. This is true across the board, regardless of the field of employment.
However, it is often especially true for retail workers. This is generally due to two reasons:
- Retail workers fear they will lose their job if they report their injury, even though that is illegal in Maryland (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-1105).
- Often, retail workers do not want to risk losing the wages they depend on.
So, it is likely that the rate of retail work injuries has not increased, but more workers may be reporting their injuries and seeking compensation nowadays.
What are common retail injuries?
Retail injuries might be some of the most under-reported injuries. And yet, retail workers face an extensive range of injuries, including:
- Muscle sprains and strains from pushing, pulling and twisting
- Back injuries from lifting heavy loads regularly
- Lacerations or other injuries from sharp objects, such as box cutters
- Slips and falls on slippery surfaces or from ladders
- Severe injuries from forklift crashes
These are some of the most common injuries, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Effective safety training is essential
Retail work is inherently fast-paced and demanding. However, that should not impact an employee’s safety.
The chance of these injuries increases significantly if employees work in a rush or do not have the proper training. Retail employees should request further safety training to help prevent workplace injuries before they happen and keep themselves safe while on the job.
Working while injured only increases the risk of re-injury, endangering themselves to new hazards or endangering their co-workers. If a worker is injured on the job, the best protection they have is to file a claim and obtain the proper medical care.