You might think that working in retail is relatively safe – certainly compared to jobs in other types of industries. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those in retail are actually more likely to be injured or become ill due to their job than people who work in manufacturing.
Remember that people who work in retail often don’t spend their days in small boutiques. Many work in “big box” stores like Costco or hardware and electronics stores where they’re dealing with heavy (and sometimes dangerous) items and equipment.
Since many teens who get part-time and summer jobs are crucial to keeping the “brick-and-mortar” retail industry going, it’s crucial for parents to understand that their child could be at risk if they don’t get the same safety training as their full-time colleagues or if they’re pressured to take on tasks that older employees balk at doing.
What are the most common injuries reported by those in retail?
Employees who lift and carry heavy boxes and merchandise can suffer muscle sprains and even tears. This can happen from repetitive movements or lifting a particularly heavy object – especially if a person isn’t properly trained on how to safely lift or is not provided dollies and other equipment to move heavy items.
Cuts and punctures are also common. Employees opening boxes need to be especially careful with box cutters and scissors. Even tape dispensers have sharp edges that can do a lot of damage. It’s crucial for everyone to be careful where they lay these sharp objects down so that someone doesn’t accidentally step or sit on one.
Fractures aren’t as common, but they can certainly occur if an employee falls off a ladder, on a wet floor or over debris. Employees shouldn’t be afraid to decline to climb on a ladder that’s not secure or at least ask someone to hold it. Falls on a hard floor, even from a short distance, can also cause serious concussions.
If a loved one has suffered an injury, whether they’re working full-time, part-time or on a temporary basis, they have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical care and help with missed wages. If you have questions or concerns about being able to get these benefits, having legal guidance can help.