For a long time, people assumed they knew what dangerous jobs are: manufacturing, construction, first responders, police, or firefighters. These are the jobs where you can sit and imagine virtually most scenarios where the worker might get injured, so of course, you assume they are the riskiest.
That is why it’s so surprising to see the following data.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail industry is among one of the most dangerous job, accounting for 14% of all work-related injuries in the private industry in 2018, with 3.5 incidents per 100 full-time employees. By comparison, those in manufacturing had 3.4 cases per 100 employees, while the construction industry had 3 incidents per 100 employees.
Why Are Retail Workers at Risk?
The retail industry has changed a lot in recent years. Thanks to technology making it easier for everyone to access anything they want at any given time, the number of orders across industries skyrocketed. That puts a lot more pressure on retail workers to perform their tasks at a much faster pace, as to not affect a company’s revenue.
The most affected are general merchandise stores, who reported the highest number of incidents (around 96,000 cases), even when compared to motor vehicle and parts dealers, or supply stores, who generally handle a lot more dangerous equipment.
This higher demand and higher expectations of workers inevitably leads to injuries, because they increase the likelihood of:
- Slip and falls
- Direct contact with equipment
- Back injuries from handling / lifting heavy cargo
- Sprains, tears
- Exhaustion, or high levels of stress, etc.
How to Stay Safe
No matter how much there is to do at your job, your health must never suffer because the company wants to turn a profit. As a result, it’s essential for your employer to offer you:
- The right protective equipment
- Plenty of breaks
- Job training
- A pleasant work environment
If that doesn’t sound like your job at all, you have the option of filing a complaint with OSHA, though you may be better off talking to your supervisor directly and asking for better conditions, as this institution might not be able to respond in time.
Additionally, you can take extra steps to protect yourself:
- Don’t skip on your breaks to get the job done
- Perform light stretching exercises for your back, legs, or other areas you may overuse during your work
- Try to lower stress (like by meditating or taking up a hobby).
What If You Get Injured?
If you are hurt on the job, you are likely entitled to workers compensation benefits which can help you access essential medical services, without having to worry about how to pay for it. If you’re unsure whether you qualify, or are afraid of retribution for filing the claim, reach out to an experienced workers compensation attorney in your area.