BLS Report: Why It’s More Dangerous to Work in Retail than in Manufacturing or Construction

Retail Shop

In our 20 years of protecting injured workers, we’ve watched western Pennsylvania transform from its industrial past into an emerging technology hub. As the industry has evolved, so have the risks that workers face on a daily basis. One of the most surprising changes we’ve encountered in recent years has been the growing dangers in the retail space. 

For the first time ever, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that retail workers are more likely to be injured on the job than workers in both manufacturing and construction, historically two of the most dangerous industries. In 2018, the injury rates for these industries were:

  • Retail - 3.5 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers (up from 3.3 cases in 2017)
  • Manufacturing - 3.4 cases (down from 3.5 cases)
  • Construction - 3.0 cases (down from 3.1 cases)

The only industries that recorded higher injury rates than Retail in 2018 were:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting - 5.3 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers (up from 5.0 cases in 2017)
  • Transportation and Warehousing - 4.5 cases (down from 4.6 cases)
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation - 4.1 cases (down from 4.2 cases)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance - 3.9 cases (down from 4.1 cases)

Although workers in the Retail industry may feel safer than their counterparts in other industries, they are actually more susceptible to injuries than most of the workforce.

Where Retail Injuries Occur

Last year, Retail counted for 14% of all private sector injuries, notching a total of 409,900 cases. According to the BLS, the majority of those injuries occurred in:

  • General Merchandise - 96,000 injuries in 2018
  • Food and Beverage - 92,600 injuries 
  • Motor Vehicles and Parts - 61,500 injuries 
  • Building Materials and Garden Supplies - 53,800 injuries

Clothing Store

Who Is Most Likely to Be Injured in Retail

Although industries like Manufacturing and Construction have focused on improving their safety ratings in recent years, Retail has fallen behind. Research suggests that everyone in the Retail sector is susceptible to injuries, regardless of their seniority. According to the BLS data: 

  • Retail salespeople accounted for 20% of cases involving days away from work
  • First-line supervisors accounted for 13% of cases involving days away from work

In retail settings, the entire staff must remain vigilant for workplace hazards that could lead to injury.

How Retail Workers Get Injured

In 2018, Retail workers suffered 126,850 cases that resulted in days away from work. These missed days were caused by:

  • Sprains, strains, and tears - 45,340 cases, 38.4 cases per 10,000 workers
  • Contact with objects and equipment - 38,940 cases, 33 cases per 10,000 workers
  • Slips, trips, and falls - 34,190 cases, 29 cases per 10,000 workers
  • Back injuries - 21,320 cases, 18 cases per 10,000 workers

By remaining mindful of your body and your surroundings, you may prevent falling victim to the most common causes of Retail injuries.

If you’ve suffered a retail-related injury, Dugan & Associates is here to help. We want to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

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