Working in retail might initially seem like a safe option, compared to industries where the risks are more apparent like construction or manufacturing. However, the CDC states that retail work poses one of the highest risks for workplace violence. Depending on the environment, you might also be at risk for injuries from everyday hazards, like wet floors, falling equipment, repetitive motions and more.
What should you know about staying safe as a retail worker?
Beware of slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are common causes of accidents in many retail stores. These can be due to a variety of circumstances, including:
- Slick or slippery surfaces not properly marked with a wet floor sign
- Lingering snow or ice in walkways or parking lots in the winter months
- Ladders that have not been properly extended or set up
- Broken handrails on staircases
If you see a hazard in the workplace, inform your supervisor of this immediately to protect yourself and others.
Understand other hazards specific to your workplace
Your role might require you to continually lift heavy boxes of product or scan items at a checkout all day. Whatever your role might be, you should understand the hazards associated with this. Lifting heavy objects all day with few breaks can lead to overuse injuries, like those to your back, shoulders, wrists and more. Additionally, you should beware of objects that pose a falling risk if you continually must walk back to a warehouse, for example.
Lastly, repeating the same motions day after day can lead to repetitive use or stress injuries like tendonitis or carpal tunnel. These injuries can take time to develop. Regular stretching and breaks from the motion are key to do what you can to prevent the onset of these injuries.
Violence in the workplace
Violence in the workplace is a threat across all retail stores, whether you work at a grocery store, clothing store, gas station or another business. It is important to know the protocol for what to do in an emergency, as well as to ensure that the area you work in is well lit, doors that should be locked remain locked and security cameras are fully functioning.
If you suffer an injury while working in a store, understanding how to claim workers’ compensation insurance will be crucial to ensuring your costs are covered.