Many people believe retail workers experience less work-related injuries than other industries.
It is a common misconception that retail workers are less likely to suffer work-related injuries and illnesses, according to a recent report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). However, retail workers are no less prone than other workers to occupational injuries and illnesses. There were around 21 million retail workers in the United States in 2006. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 581 fatalities occurred among those workers, causing a total of 820,500 injuries. The retail sector provides 15.5 percent of private-sector employment, but accounts for around 20.1 percent of injuries and illnesses.
Misconceptions Lead to Work-Related Injuries
There is a misconception that the retail sector provides a safer work environment than other industries provide. Even many retail workers have this false impression about retail jobs. The fact remains, however, that retail workers suffer an alarmingly high number of on-the-job injuries. In many instances, workers overlook the risks associated with retail jobs. This false sense of safety eventually contributes to work-related injuries and illnesses among retail workers. Statistics show that injuries due to heavy lifting, slipping, falling, and overexertion are common in retail works.
Not Taking Time Off
Unlike workers in other sectors, retail workers often cannot afford to take days off from work, because they work in a ‘no work no pay’ environment. Retail workers are paid on an hourly basis. They usually do not get any employee benefits, such as medical insurance, paid leaves, and sick leaves. Taking even one day’s leave may mean significant loss of income. In an attempt to earn more or avoid potential loss of earnings, they often overlook minor injuries at the workplace and do not report an on-the-job injury. This is one of the reasons why retail workers are more likely to get injuries and illnesses that require long-term treatment.
Lack of Safety Training
Ideally, all retail workers should have access to adequate safety training programs, but that does not happen in reality. Safety training programs help employees learn how to safely perform a job or handle a machine. This helps to lower on-the-job injury rates to a large extent. Unfortunately, however, not all retail employers take the matter seriously. Some companies require their workers to take an initial staff training but do not provide any safety training.
Prioritizing Production Over Employee Safety
The constant pressure to increase productivity and perform faster often pushes employee safety concerns to the back seat. Retail employees work in a fast-paced environment where they have little time to think about their own safety. When new orders come, workers are encouraged to work faster. This only increases the risks of work-related injuries, such as cuts, burns, falls, and slips.
Work Injury Lawyer Kansas City, MO
Retail workers suffering from work-related injuries may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you need to know more about your legal rights, contact a Kansas City work injury lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.
Call us at (816) 399-3706 for a free consultation.