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Don’t underestimate the hazards of retail work

Whether you're taking on an second job in a store this holiday season to make some extra money or your teen is getting a retail job during their winter break, it's essential not to underestimate the potential dangers that can befall people who work on the front lines of retail.

Sure, it's not as dangerous as construction work or some other jobs. However, there are plenty of opportunities for serious injury if you and others aren't careful and aren't properly trained. Sadly, the latter is too often a problem, especially with part-time and seasonal employees.

Whether you're working in a small boutique, a big box store, a grocery store or the local hardware or home improvement store, the following injuries are all too common for retail employees:

  • Slips and falls on floors that are wet or have debris and merchandise on them
  • Head and other injuries caused by merchandise falling from high shelves
  • Repetitive motion injuries caused by working at the cash register or entering data on a computer for hours on end
  • Cuts from scissors, box cutters and tape dispensers used to pack and unpack shipping boxes
  • Falls from ladders
  • Muscle strains from lifting or pushing heavy boxes

Sadly, retail employees can also be the victims of violence from customers, robbers and even other employees.

Employers should have safety protocols in place, including instructions for how to properly lift and carry heavy items, to help prevent unnecessary injuries. If your employer doesn't go over these with you, ask them. Even if other employees in your workplace are lax about safety, you can look out for yourself and others.

If you're injured on the job, it shouldn't matter whether you're a seasonal employee, a part-time employee or a full-time worker. You should receive the compensation you need to cover medical expenses and lost work. If you're having difficulty obtaining that, it may be worthwhile to consult with an experienced attorney to determine what your rights are.

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