It is generally accepted that construction work is some of the hardest work there is – and some of the most dangerous, too. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) even has a “Fatal Four” list for construction workers, aimed at helping companies keep their workers alive.
We have no doubt that construction work can be deadly. What we wanted to know, though, was which industries posed the greatest non-fatal risks. We assumed construction would be in the Top 3, so imagine our surprise when we discovered that retail work actually leads to more non-fatal injuries than construction does.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 386,000 retail workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2017 – almost double the number of construction workers that year. That averages out to 3.3 cases per every 100 full-time workers, the BLS found.
What are the most common retail injuries?
Retail work may not seem dangerous on the surface, but workers face a number of risks to their health:
- Repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive motions – on the till, sliding items across a scanner, or even moving boxes around from the backroom to the storefront – take a toll on workers. In the restaurant industry, they even have an injury they call “barista wrist,” which develops based on how baristas and servers carry trays with food.
- Overexertion. There is a lot of bending down, picking up heavy items, and other physically imposing work that goes into retail. The constant strain on your body can lead to tears, fractures and sprains.
- Toxic exposure. People who work in home improvement centers or in pool stores, for example, are exposed to chemicals all day long. This constant exposure is dangerous. The same is true for stores which operate out of Alabama’s older homes and buildings, where things like asbestos, benzene, mold and lead paint may not have been properly remediated.
- Slips, trips and falls. Falls are a leading cause of death and injury is almost every industry. Wet floors, broken escalators, uneven walkways and broken handrails can all cause a person to slip, trip or fall.
- Assault. We have all seen videos of people throwing punches on Black Friday, but attacks and assaults happen outside of the holidays, too. Parking lots can be especially dangerous for individual workers, especially if the person is parked in the dark.
- Exposure to illness. Working with the public means being exposed to a lot of germs. All it takes is one customer who doesn’t know he or she has the flu to infect an entire workforce, especially if employees are not vigilant in sanitizing countertops, phones, and other shared items.
The good news is that, with the exception of customer-transmitted illnesses, these injuries and conditions are all eligible for workers’ compensation. If you are an Alabama employee whose company carries workers’ compensation insurance, you can make a claim for benefits to help you survive while you are at home, recovering. If your injury is temporary, you can claim weekly wage benefits (about 2/3 of your regular pay). If your injury leaves you temporarily disabled, you may be entitled to more.
At Mezrano Law Firm, we help injured workers get back up on their feet. If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation, or if your injury was caused by a third-party, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit instead. If you are not sure which option is best for you, our Alabama worksite injury attorneys can help you make the right decision.
Retail work can be dangerous. At Mezrano Law Firm, we can help you get the tools and resources you need to recover from your injuries. To schedule a free consultation with an Alabama work injury lawyer, please call us at 205.407.1768 , or fill out our contact form. We have offices in Birmingham, Florence, Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, but we can also come to you if you are unable to come to us.