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What Are the Most Common Retail Worker Injuries?

Even Low-Risk Businesses Need Workers' Comp Insurance
woman getting medical attention for injury

It's easy to underestimate the amount of risk involved with working in retail. However, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that retail worker injuries are more common than you might think. In 2020 alone, retail workers reported over 28,000 injuries and illnesses. Research shows it's a costly problem, too, with over $1 million in workers' compensation paid to injured retail salespeople in 2020.

From moving boxes to unloading and setting out merchandise, retail workers risk injuries that could result in expensive medical bills and lost wages due to time away from healing. While working in retail is probably still less risky than construction, even the most careful retail worker could still be injured in a workplace accident. Here are some of the most common retail worker injuries and what small businesses can do to help prevent them.

Bruises, Broken Bones and Fractures

Most often caused by slipping and falling due to slippery floors or by tripping over an object, injuries like bruises and broken or fractured bones are injuries often seen among retail workers. These accidents can also be caused by falling or moving objects like heavy boxes. Injuries could range from moderate to severe.

Muscle Strains and Tears

Retail workers are often expected to push, pull and lift heavy boxes and merchandise, making muscle strain a common workplace injury. Musculoskeletal injuries like muscle strains and tears are usually caused by hoisting heavy items without help or using improper lifting techniques. Employees who aren't adequately trained or given equipment to safely lift heavy boxes and objects are more likely to injure themselves.

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Similar to how improper lifting techniques could cause muscle strains, repetitive strain injuries can be caused by damage to the muscles and tendons due to repetitive motions. Retail workers who overexert their bodies through repeated motions at work are prone to repetitive strain injuries from stocking boxes to operating the checkout machine. Examples include tendonitis, bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cuts and Scrapes

Retail workers who use sharp tools to break down boxes and cut tags are susceptible to injuries on the job. The improper use of box cutters, knives or scissors or simple accidents could lead to cuts, lacerations, punctures and subsequent infections without careful usage.

How to Prevent Retail Injury

Accidents happen, but business owners can minimize the risk of retail worker injuries by taking steps to maintain a safe work environment. For starters, business owners can set the standard by implementing and enforcing safety protocols and providing adequate safety training to all new hires. Encouraging your staff to take regular breaks and keep the workspace clean and clear of clutter can also help mitigate the risk of someone getting hurt.

Workers' Comp for Injured Retail Employees

Even when a business takes all the proper safety precautions, the most careful retail employee could still be injured in a workplace accident. When accidents happen, workers' compensation insurance could help pay for an injured retail employee's medical bills and lost wages, so their employer isn't held liable. Besides being legally required in most states, workers' compensation can help safeguard your business.

How Cerity Can Help

Cerity, a direct-to-business workers' comp insurance carrier, helps small businesses minimize risks and protect their employees by offering workers' comp insurance and other small business insurance coverage at an affordable price. With an online library of articles on managing, starting or growing a small business, Cerity has the resources you need to help your business thrive. The company seeks to streamline the workers' compensation insurance process with online quotes available minutes after answering a few questions.

Learn more about how workers' compensation insurance can protect your small business with Cerity.

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