One would hope that working in Pennsylvania retail establishments would be safe, but statistics show nonfatal retail injuries have increased. There are several types of injuries an employee in this line of work may experience, ranging from mild to serious.
Slips, trips, and falls
Slips, trips, and falls accounted for over 30,000 injuries in 2018 and were the most common reason for workers’ comp claims at 16%. Workplace falls are the third leading reason for missed workdays, which is around 31 days and 22% of accidents.
Slips, trips, and falls may occur from uneven surfaces, stairs, ladders, wet floors, and cluttered aisles. Stats show flooring materials account for about 2 million retail injuries annually.
Workplace violence and bullying
Some retail jobs place the employee in danger of being left to work alone while handling money at night in convenience or in liquor stores. They risk assault, harassment, and verbal abuse or threats from customers or other employees.
Workplace bullying involves a pattern of intentional mistreatment from bosses or other employees and is not just a one-time occurrence. These incidents can include physical threats, abuse of power, degradation, and intimidation that create a hostile environment. These issues might not result in workers’ comp claims per se, but could give rise to other types of employment law claims.
Equipment and lifting injuries
Retail employees are at risk of injury from unsecured objects falling off shelves. They also face an increased risk of back injury, shoulder injury, or other musculoskeletal problems such as sprains and strain from improper lifting.
Many retail stores use pallets for transporting heavy objects, but they pose an injury risk. Studies show over 30,000 retail employees visited the emergency room for pallet injuries between 2014 and 2018.
A workplace injury can often last longer than a few days, which will likely make the injured employee eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Employees should inform employers immediately of an injury and see a doctor, and should contact a certified specialist workers’ comp attorney for a free consultation to understand their rights and obligations.