When people imagine dangerous jobs, they usually think about manual labor like construction or railroad work. While these occupations are certainly full of hazards, people often forget about the everyday dangers of retail work.
You must be careful of spills on hard, linoleum floors. High shelves can conceal dangers, as loose products could fall and injure someone. When the store is busy, people and loose items in your path create hazards. Big box hardware stores are full of sharp, pointed objects, and it is easy to make contact with them.
Retail is high-energy work. Workers are on their feet all day, bustling from location to location. These days, stores are massive buildings where workers quickly walk long distances to perform their duties. Any number of dangers could lie in their wake.
Often overlooked, there is also the danger of motor vehicles. At a busy grocery store in a shopping plaza, workers must collect and return carts from outdoor areas were cars zip around parking spaces, flying by patrons and workers. Employees must be on high alert for dangers in this environment.
Here are some common injuries among retail workers.
Repetitive Movement Injuries
When we perform the same actions over and over, we can wear down our bodies. Imagine a farmer who has injuries on one side of his body from hoeing the fields. Similarly, an office worker can develop carpal tunnel syndrome from using a keyboard all day. Repetitive movement injures affect the musculoskeletal system, creating problems in joints. This can lead to mobility issues and chronic pain.
Retail workers may be called upon to move boxes and stock shelves. This repetitive movement can cause injuries. Being on your feet all day can also cause problems in the joints, particularly the knees and hips.
Strains and Sprains
There is tissue near our bones that is strong enough to keep the body moving, but it is also susceptible to injury. When that tissue tears or breaks, someone has suffered either a strain or a sprain.
Strains are injuries to the tendons. Your tendons are small bits of muscle that connect your larger muscles to your bones. They are designed to bend, but they do not stretch. A retail worker who falls or lifts a heavy item could overextend tendons, causing them to snap or tear. This is a strain.
A sprain specifically involves ligaments. Ligaments are connective tissue that keep bones together. Unlike tendons, ligaments are elastic, but even they can stretch too far. When your ligaments snap, you have suffered a sprain.
A retail worker has many opportunities to move their body the wrong way. In a fall, they could twist their joints incorrectly. They could sprain their ankle moving about the store, or they could snap tendons while lifting heavy boxes.
There are several ways a retail worker can cut their skin at work. Simply zoning products, you can catch a sharp metal shelf, breaking your skin. Many retail workers find themselves going home with minor cuts on their hands.
Cuts come in many forms.
- An abrasion is what we normally call a “scrape.” It breaks the top layer of skin, usually across a wide area with many little cuts.
- Lacerations are characterized by their jaggedness.
- An incision is a straight, clean cut that takes a long time to heal and leaves scars.
- Puncture wounds leave only a little hole in the skin. They can, however, be very dangerous. Whatever entered your skin made contact with deeper layers as it traveled in an out. Germs may be trapped under the skin, leading to infections.
There are a number of ways retail workers can suffer an impact. Falling on the job or being hit by a product can result in serious injuries. Grocery workers who are hit by cars could suffer life-threatening harm.
Impacts can cause serious damage to the body. In a severe impact, the body’s structure can be damaged. Even short falls can lead to broken bones and spinal damage. When someone’s head is unprotected on impact, they could suffer skull and brain injuries.
Speaking With an Attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job, you should seek the services of a skilled lawyer. Your first recourse after an injury is workers’ compensation. An attorney can help you with that paperwork. It is not as simple as filling out and submitting forms. Initial applications are often denied for minor reasons. Insurance companies can use any small mistake to withhold your claim. Lawyers can help make sure you’ve filled everything out correctly.
Even if you’ve carefully, correctly filled out the paperwork, insurance companies can claim that your injury doesn’t warrant benefits. Attorneys can help you write your report, guiding you on which details to add and how to phrase things. They know how the companies think, and they can help you prove that you deserve your benefits.
If you are denied, you will need legal representation to appeal the decision. Workers’ compensation hearings operate much like a courtroom trial, with witnesses and evidence. The insurance company will have its own lawyers, so the services of a legal professional are invaluable.
Even when you receive your benefits, they may not cover you completely. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it may be necessary to file a civil suit to cover your damages. An attorney can advise you and help you decide if litigation is your best option.
If you’ve been injured at work, we may be able to help. You can set up a free consultation by calling (817) 591-4222 or by contacting us online.