When you think of jobs that involve a risk of severe injury, you probably don’t think of your average Target or Walmart cashier or stock clerk. Still, retail workers come in second in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual list of occupations with the most non-fatal injuries and illnesses. Only healthcare workers suffer more on-the-job injuries. What makes retail work so hazardous? We take a look.

Common Causes of Retail Worker Injuries

One of the reasons for high rates of injury among retail workers is that they tend to be younger employees who are less experienced in the workplace. Retail Worker Standing in an AisleAccording to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers under the age of 25 are more likely to be injured on the job than older workers because they are not adequately trained and don’t ask for help with challenging work situations. It’s essential for teen workers—even part-timers—to understand that they are eligible for workers’ comp if injured at work.

Retail workers—both young and not-so-young—are at risk of being by the following workplace hazards:

  • Repetitive motion. Eight hours spent scanning items at a checkout station or stocking shelves can lead to repetitive-use injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or elbow strain.
  • Lifting. Stock clerks are often required to lift heavy boxes to unload merchandise from trucks and bring it out to the floor. Improper lifting techniques can cause overexertion injuries such as strains and sprains.
  • Falls. Slipping or tripping and falling is a common retail workplace accident. Injuries can range from minor bumps and bruises to broken bones and concussions.
  • Sharp instruments. Box cutters and knives used to unpack merchandise are a source of serious injuries, particularly when a worker is inexperienced or rushed.
  • Forklifts. Placing boxes on or retrieving merchandise from high shelves might require a forklift. When an untrained employee operates a forklift, others in the area could be hit by the forklift or injured by a falling box.
  • Violence. Unfortunately, retail workers—particularly those who work at night—can be victims of robberies or violent attacks and suffer serious injuries.

If you suffer an on-the-job injury, you should file an incident report and see a doctor. If a severe injury requires medical treatment and extended time off work, you should talk to your supervisor about filing a claim for workers’ compensation.

We Are Here to Clear the Obstacles

If you get pushback from your employer about filing a claim, or the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or your self-insured employer denies your claim, reach out to Monast Law Office to speak with a work injury lawyer to find out if we can help. We have been helping injured workers in Ohio for over 30 years, and we would be happy to discuss your claim. Call our office or fill out the contact form on this page.


James Monast
Connect with me
Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio