If you work in the retail business, you know that there are numerous hazards that you must constantly keep in mind to avoid injury. Here are just a few common examples:
- Slipping or falling due to debris or wet floors
- Using ladders or footstools
- Possibility of violence due to theft
- Ergonomic injuries from repetitive tasks
- Improper use of chemicals or cleaners
As professional retail workers, most full-time employees are knowledgeable on how to avoid injury in many of these situations, and more. However, during the Christmas season, retail stores hire extra seasonal employees who usually do not have the benefit of a large amount of retail experience. These seasonal employees get very brief, if any, training on safety in their work environment.
Because of this, numerous seasonal retail employees are injured every year. Any injury, no matter how small it may seem at the moment, can cause severe pain and problems down the road. For example, what if you slip and fall on a hard floor due to a spill? Most of us, due to embarrassment, will get up, brush ourselves off, and laugh at the slightly sore knee or scratched elbow, just being glad we’re OK. What you might not realize is even that small fall can cause pain and suffering years later. It is very important to report all injuries, regardless of how small you may think they are.
Many people view retail work as relatively safe, but researchers have been surprised to report that millions of retail workers are injured each year, with even some fatalities. This might be because the retail workforce is so varied, from the very young to the very elderly. Or maybe it’s because retailers don’t take the time and effort needed to properly train employees in safety around the workplace. Or perhaps the work just seems so non-threatening that employees become careless. Whatever the reason, injury is a real and immediate threat to retail workers, especially seasonal retail workers who are less experienced.
Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common injuries faced by retail workers: sprains from slips and falls, carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive tasks, back pain due to long hours standing or lifting heavy items, and soreness from all of the above. Many of these injuries can be prevented through proper training, but often training is not enough. Constant focus on worker safety is required by both large and small retailers, and frankly, the focus in retail is much more often on profit.
If you are a retail worker, seasonal or not, and you have been injured on the job, it is very important for you to seek counsel from an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible. Even when you are as careful as possible, even when the retailer is as careful as possible, accidents can and do happen. When you are injured through no fault of your own or through lack of training, you are entitled to benefits and compensation. It’s important for retail workers to know their rights.