When it comes to hazardous work environments, most people think of construction, mining, health care, or agriculture industries. However, retail industry workers had a higher injury and illness rate than construction industry workers in 2016, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. The BLS projected that by 2018, there will be more than 22 million workers in the wholesale and retail trade. Safety consultants recommend that employers and workers in this fast-growing industry make safety a priority to reduce the high injury and illness rates among retail workers.
Common Injuries in the Retail Industry
Retail industry workers often move products from delivery trucks to the shelves and this type of work can result in musculoskeletal disorders, the most common injury amongst full-time workers. Retail workers may also feel under pressure to complete tasks quickly, which can cause them to become injured. Overexertion, fractures, bruises, and cuts are also among the most common types of injuries experienced.
Many retail workers put strain on their bodies repeatedly. This type of repetition can cause repetitive strain injuries. It may manifest in the form of joint pain and inflammation in the arms, wrists, and hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by pressure on the median nerve, can occur due to workplace factors, such as a non-ergonomic computer workstation, working with vibrating tools, or on an assembly line that involves prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist.
How to Prevent Retail Industry Injuries
An advisor for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says it is important for employers to engage in a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to improving safety in the workplace. A single injury can cost the employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier more than it would to implement proper safety controls.
There are some steps that employers and employees can take to prevent workplace injuries. A former safety executive at Walmart says that management should focus on safety training and regular comprehensive inspections of the stores. Teaching employees how to use ladders safely, prevent falls, and handle materials appropriately are all important aspects of ensuring a safe workplace.
Another Walmart safety executive suggests making lifting techniques more ergonomic and improving safety through equipment design. Many injuries occur due to material handling, therefore efficient and ergonomic processes are crucial. Also, equipment design features can minimize the risk of certain injuries. For example, a lazy Susan rotating bag station reduces a cashier’s risk of injury from lifting a customer’s bags.
Wellness programs and safety training are both geared toward prevention. According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report, the benefits of prevention programs include cost savings, injury reduction, greater employee loyalty, and increased production. Employers who proactively implement prevention strategies, such as wellness programs, will likely see a reduction in workplace injuries and an increase in productivity.
Camden County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Injured Workers Collect Maximum Benefits for Their Injuries
If you were injured in a workplace accident, contact the skilled Camden County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law. From our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-414-0010.