When thinking of dangerous jobs, retail work probably isn't one of the first things that comes to mind. However, while working in retail is relatively safe compared to working in construction, roofing, or other inherently hazardous professions, it's not without its risks.
People who work at Walmart, Target, and other retail stores face a number of dangers in the workplace—and retail workers suffer job-related injuries and illnesses far more often than most people realize.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail sector reported 409,900 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2018 alone; 31 percent of which resulted in missed work.
Injured at your retail job? You may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Here's what you need to know about Georgia workers' compensation, and how our skilled Atlanta attorneys can help secure the benefits you deserve.
Common Retail Workplace Hazards and Injuries
The following hazards and injuries are those most frequently reported among retail workers:
- Overexertion. When retail workers push their bodies too hard or are subjected to repetitive motion, overexertion injuries often occur. Some of the most frequent overexertion or repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and joint pain.
- Improper lifting and handling. Retail employees are often tasked with moving large or heavy objects. If safe lifting and handling techniques aren't used, strains, sprains, and other serious injuries are often the result.
- Struck by or against injuries. These injuries happen when a retail worker is struck by a falling object, or stuck against a fixture or a shelf. The severity of the resulting injury varies dramatically based on how hard you're hit, the size, shape, and weight of the object, and other factors.
- Slips, trips, and falls. Of the more than 409,000 retail worker injuries reported in 2018, nearly 34,000 were caused by slips, trips, or falls. Hazards such as outdoor snow and ice, spilled liquids, loose rugs or floor mats, frayed or bunched carpeting, clutter, and poor lighting are often to blame.
- Box cutters and other sharp objects. Improper handling of box cutters, knives, or other sharp objects can lead to cuts, lacerations, and infections.
- Workplace violence. Sadly, some on-the-job injuries are the result of violence perpetrated by a co-worker, customer, or another party. In most cases, victims of workplace violence can still collect workers' comp benefits.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
Georgia provides workers' compensation benefits in the form of medical treatment and income benefits. In cases where a loved one was killed due to an on-the-job injury, surviving family members may be entitled to death benefits.
What to Do If You Were Injured at a Retail Job
No one expects to be injured on the job, especially if they work in retail. However, should the unthinkable happen, here's what you can do to protect your right to workers' compensation benefits:
- Report the injury to your supervisor right away. Although you can notify them of your injury verbally, informing them in writing through email ensures that your report is documented.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Make sure to let doctors know you were injured at work so they can carefully document all the relevant information in your medical records.
- Document everything. Write down the names of fellow employees who may have witnessed your accident and injury, the names of the medical personnel who treated you, all information from your doctor, communications with insurance adjusters and human resources, and how your injury impacts your daily life.
- Consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, but that doesn't always mean that getting the benefits you deserve is easy. Involve an attorney in your case as soon as possible to ensure you fully understand your legal rights and options.
Consult an Experienced Georgia Attorney About Your Workers' Compensation Case
Want to find out how the skilled workers' compensation attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you with your case? Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.