When you think of the most dangerous industries, retail probably does not make the list. However, according to Safety and Health Magazine, employees in retail surpassed those in construction in the rate of illnesses and injuries they experienced in 2016.
Retail workers are always at risk for accidents such as slips, trips and falls. However, the holiday season brings additional hazards to the scene and to those who may be new to the job, as temporary employees are common at this time of year.
Stress and exhaustion
Stores often extend their hours during the holidays, which means that shifts are longer. More hours, as well as the hectic work environment, lead to stress and exhaustion. These factors, in turn, put workers at a higher risk of accident and injury.
A regular part of the job as a store employee is receiving, moving and stocking merchandise. However, the workload increases at the close of the year, and overexertion is common. More deliveries and a high pressure to get products out to customers can lead to carelessness. Heavy packages can drop and items may fall off shelves onto people or the floor, where someone may later trip on them. Even scanning and bagging items can cause musculoskeletal disorders from repetition.
The obsession with getting the best deals on Black Friday through Cyber Monday has resulted in crowds fatally trampling store personnel. Crowd control is a serious matter throughout the holiday season. Customers can get angry and violent, verbally and/or physically assaulting each other and employees.
Even without violence present, the sheer number of people in the store is still hazardous enough. People can bump and crash into each other in crowded aisles. Merchandise usually litters the floor.
Employers must provide a safe working environment, no matter the time of year. Preparation and proper training are paramount in preventing harm from occurring to retail employees. If an accident or injury happens, the person has a right to workers’ compensation.