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How common are workers injured in the retail sector?

While many Illinois residents may be under the impression that the injury and illness rate of construction workers is the highest of any other industry, this was not the case in 2016. The injury and illness rate of retail workers was 3.3 per 100 workers, which was higher than that of construction workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders were the most common injury experienced. Overexertion and contact with objects and equipment were the second cause of injuries in the retail industry and slips, trips and falls were the third-most cited factor. In fact, the third factor saw an increase from 12.1 in 2009 to 17.3 in 2014. Though, it might not seem like it, bagging and scanning items and moving items from delivery trucks to storage areas is quite hazardous work.

A lack of commitment by the management can result in an unsafe working environment that prefers inventory over safety. Employers should be providing safety training, not only at orientation but also routinely and annually. Training should focus on fall prevention, safe use of ladders, stretching, manual material handling and housekeeping. Handling material is one of the leading reasons for injuries in the workplace, which is why lifting techniques should be ergonomic and efficient.

Creating a safe working environment should be a top priority for employers, especially for those who take care to ensure a safe experience for their customers. When it is not and a workplace injury results, it might be possible to pursue a workers' compensation claim that cover medical costs and lost wages.

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