When you think of hazardous jobs resulting in workers’ compensation claims, you probably think about construction workers and law enforcement personnel. You probably do not consider retail industry workers. A new study indicates that maybe you should.
The dangers of retail
When a retail worker is injured on the job, they miss an average of 24 workdays, according to an insurance provider study. AmTrust Financial Services reviewed 20,000 workers’ compensation claims from 2016-2018. The three injuries with the highest average payouts were:
- Falls or slips from ladders or scaffolding
- Strain or repetitive motion
- Car accidents
Workers at the greatest risk were employed in:
- Meat, fish and poultry markets. Common injuries involve facial bones, elbows, ankles, and knees.
- Hardware stores. Common injuries involve upper backs, shoulders, upper arms, and ankles.
- Car parts and accessories stores (including drivers). Common injuries involve soft tissue, multiple upper extremities, elbows, shoulders and knees.
- Barbershop, beauty parlor and hairstyling salons. Common injuries involve shoulders, thumbs and upper extremities.
Does your employer care about safety?
The study found safety training is key to preventing injuries. The question for retail workers is whether their employers believe in a proactive safety strategy or whether they accept injuries as “part of doing business.” Workers should ask themselves if their employers:
- Have proper footwear policies.
- Keep floors and other surfaces clear of hazards.
- Store stock safely on shelves.
- Keep stepladders in good condition.
- Enforce safe lifting guidelines.
- Provide support for moving stock, such as hand carts.
- Offer training on security, robbery, and shoplifting.
- Maintain clear emergency exit walkways.
- Assure facilities are properly illuminated.
It’s easy for an employer to say they support worker safety. It’s something else entirely for them to follow through. Workers should alert their employers to any safety issues and keep a detailed record of the response.
Seek medical attention, even if it seems minor
If you are a retail worker who has been injured on the job, you could be facing a month or more without a paycheck, or even become permanently disabled. Making ends meet is difficult enough without missing extra time due to your employer’s negligence. Your employer is not going to admit they are responsible for your injuries. In fact, they may blame you. The insurance company knows you need money. That’s why they will make a lowball financial settlement offer, hoping you will accept less than you deserve. Meanwhile, you are trying to navigate a complex workers’ compensation system that seems like it was designed to thwart and frustrate you.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell, LLC, with offices in Shrewsbury and Freehold, have been handling cases like yours in Monmouth and Ocean counties for decades. We deal aggressively with employers and their insurance companies and know how to make the workers’ compensation system work for you. We will help you put your life back on track. Contact us today for a free case consultation.