Health

Injuries at work: Retail workers more likely than factory workers to be injured on the job

While working a cash register or stocking shelves might seem like a relatively risk-free job, think again. In 2018, 3.5 of every 100 full-time retail workers suffered a nonfatal injury or illness while at work, according to federal labor data

That’s a higher rate than in other potentially dangerous jobs, including manufacturing (3.4 nonfatal injuries/illnesses per 100), construction workers who specialize in buildings (2.7), and mining and oil field workers (1.4).

The most common injuries in retail are sprains and muscle tears, as well as general soreness — risks unlikely to be alleviated during the busy holiday shopping season. 

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Within the retail sector, the rate of injury and illness was highest at pet supply stores, where about 7% of employees suffered from non-fatal injuries in 2018, the data show. 

Also facing higher risks: workers in building material and garden equipment stores, tire dealers, and warehouse clubs and super centers. 

By contrast, clothing, electronics and liquor store employees were at lower risk of getting hurt or sick.  

The higher rate of injury and illness could mean greater costs for retailers. Of the roughly 410,000 retail workers who were injured or became ill on the job last year, nearly a third had to miss at least a day of work. 

The most dangerous industry overall? Farming, in which 5% of workers got hurt or sick last year. 


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