For many people, a trip to the supermarket or home improvement store is a part of our weekly routine. We’re able to run errands without getting hurt thanks to the safe and well-maintained environment retail workers provide. However, in their efforts to keep the shelves stocked, the floors dry, and the parking lot free of carts and debris, these employees are at a high risk for injuries.
According to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the retail industry had a higher incidence of nonfatal injuries and illnesses than workers in construction jobs. Unfortunately, many retail injuries go unreported because workers feel they can’t afford to lose their hours. Employees also fear losing their jobs if they upset their employers by reporting their injuries.
What many retail workers don’t realize is that it is illegal for employers to retaliate because an employee reports an injury. Not only can retail workers keep their jobs, but those who file for workers’ compensation may also receive benefits that will pay for their medical costs and replace a portion of their lost income while they’re in recovery.
Common retail injuries
The retail environment is full of hazards that can cause an employee to get injured at work. Workers have to move heavy loads from trucks to storage areas before transferring them to shelves. Excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, and twisting can cause musculoskeletal disorders, including sprains, strains, back pain, soreness, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
In the stockroom, workers can suffer lacerations from box cutters, knives, and other sharp objects. Some retail injuries are caused by forklift and pallet jack accidents that lead to broken bones, crushed limbs, strained muscles, and even death.
The parking lot presents another set of occupational hazards. Cars can strike retail employees who push carts, while cracked pavement or icy surfaces can lead to a slip, trip, and fall injury.
Often, retail injuries occur when workers are assigned to tasks they aren’t trained to do. If a store has a number of layoffs, remaining employees may have to work longer hours and take on extra responsibility. A lack of experience performing particular job duties combined with fatigue can lead to overexertion retail injuries.
Workers’ compensation for retail injuries
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment, but employees must also do their part to avoid injuries at work. Of course, sometimes accidents happen and no one is to blame. If you get hurt on the job, the first step is to report your injury to a manager right away. If the manager does not provide you with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) you can download one from the California Department of Industrial Relations website. You’ll need to fill out the form and submit it to your employer within 30 days of getting injured at work to qualify for workers’ compensation.
Even retail employees who work part-time and earn minimum wage are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained on the job. When you’re hurt at work, it should not be your responsibility to pay your medical bills and forfeit your income while you recover. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the legal process and get the benefits you deserve.
Retail employees injured on the job are protected by workers’ compensation
Retail employees work hard to provide patrons with a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. Those who get hurt on the job shouldn’t have to fight through the pain in hopes they will get better without medical treatment and rest. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation attorneys are skilled at helping retail workers collect the benefits they need to make a physical and financial recovery. Call us today at 619-528-9800 to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help.