Most people associate on-the-job injuries with job sites that involve heavy machinery. An accident at a construction site or a malfunction on an assembly line can have serious consequences. However, people in retail settings throughout Minnesota also make workers’ compensation claims due to injuries sustained at their stores.
The type of retail injuries depends on the setting. For example, employees at a deli counter work with sharp blades and slicers. Backroom workers lift heavy boxes while car accidents are a hazard when corralling shopping carts. There are potential injuries at every workplace, but some are more common than others.
Gravity’s pull is part of every work setting. The potential for injuries from a fall increases as an employee climbs a ladder or scaffolding to reach a high shelf. However, even a ground-level slip on a spill can lead to back, neck and head injuries.
Back injuries range from muscle strains to slipped discs. Workers in a rush may neglect to put on support belts that make lifting easier. Without training, they may also fail to use a proper lifting form. A lifting injury can lead to a lengthy absence from the job and workers’ comp claims.
Repetitive injuries and strains
Many tasks in a retail setting involve making the same motion for an extended period. Although the individual items may not be heavy, a person stocking shelves may find that he or she has a sore elbow and shoulder by the end of the day. Register workers can develop sore wrists, joint injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. Managers need to make certain that people take their breaks and switch tasks periodically.
Staying safe in a retail space
Every employee appreciates a safe workplace. Retail workers need adequate training, safeguards and breaks to avoid injuries. Store owners and managers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe. If these precautions are not met and a subsequent accident results in an injury, the injured worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.