Most people would not consider retail work to be particularly dangerous. After all, it is one of the most common jobs held in the American workforce, with 1 in 10 workers working in retail.
However, recent data reveals that working in retail could be much more dangerous than many people, including retail workers, previously thought.
Workers in retail suffer more injuries, more fatalities
In December, CBS News reported that in 2018, retail workers suffered one of the highest rates of workplace injuries in the entire workforce. Nearly 3.5 out of 100 retail workers suffered a serious injury on the job.
This rate was higher than the rate of injuries in many other jobs that are often considered to be more dangerous, such as:
- Manufacturing jobs
- Factory work
- Construction work
- Mining or oil field jobs
Unfortunately, this alarming trend has been happening for a while. A study from 2011 also reported that injuries in retail jobs were disproportionately high compared to other jobs.
What leads to the high risks retail workers face?
The risks in retail work vary depending on the industry. For example, the risk of injuries was highest for workers at pet supply stores, building or gardening material stores, tire dealers and supercenters.
However, there are some factors across the retail industry as a whole that increase the risk of injury retail workers face, including:
- Retail workers are the most common type of worker, and the number of workers could contribute to the high number of injury reports;
- Many people, including retail workers, might not think their work is risky. This misconception can cause workers to overlook the existing risks and increase their chance of injury;
- Holiday rushes, like the most recent Black Friday or Christmas sales, often overwork retail workers;
- Many people work in retail part-time or seasonally, and employers might not take time to train them properly about safety in the workplace; and
- Many young people work in retail, and they face an even higher risk of suffering an injury with their inexperience on top of these other risks.
Retail workers in Georgia must be aware of the risks they face, so they can renew their focus on safety while they are at work. Knowing about the risks will not eliminate the dangers alone, but it is the first step to help keep retail workers safer on the job.