Hazardous workplaces in California are typically associated with industries such as construction and manufacturing. Not many people realize that employees in the retail industry are also at risk of suffering injuries, as is evident in the workers' compensation insurance records. In the time leading up to the holidays, retail workers are exposed to long work hours and excessive stress due to the typical shopping frenzy at this time of the year.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the health and well-being of employees can suffer due to the extended work hours and the loss of sleep and family time. The agency warns that this, along with the added stress of anxious customers, can increase the risk of injury because less attention is paid to workplace safety. During this busy time, workers have little control over their work environments, and NIOSH says this could lead to frustration and even workplace violence.
The added workload and the rapid pace at which merchandise moves at this time of the year may also cause back injuries when rushed workers do not practice safe lifting techniques during manual handling of boxes and other objects. Slips, trips and falls are also more prevalent at this time. The threat of mobs of shoppers must not be ignored -- in 2008, shopping crowds rushed into a store and trampled a worker to death.
As with any other occupation, retail workers who suffer workplace injuries are entitled to pursue financial relief through the California workers' compensation insurance program. Whether it is a physical injury or work-related stress that caused a medical condition, benefits to cover doctors' fees and other medical expenses can be claimed. If the injury or illness led to a prolonged workplace absence, the benefits might also cover a portion of lost wages.
Source: sunnewsreport.com, "Retail Worker Safety and Health During the Holidays," Colin Fluxman, Nov. 22, 2017