According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more workers in shopping malls and retail outlets that get sick and injured than in any other private industry sector in Texas.
About 33,200 retail workers in Texas suffered a job-related illness or injury in 2018, as compared to 12,300 in construction, 17,700 in transportation, and 20,400 in manufacturing, according to the BLS.
About 25% of these injuries required Texas retail workers to lose a day of work, while about 5% of the injuries required employees to lose 31 days or more of work. The median time off for injured retail workers in Texas was five days.
“There are more retail workers in the state getting injured than employees in construction, transportation, or even on factory floors,” said Chris D’Amura, director of workplace safety at the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). “We’re seeing a lot of retail workers with sprains, strains, tears, and overexertion.”
“According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the longer workdays, expanded schedules, and irregular shifts can negatively affect the mental and physical health of retail workers,” D’Amura said. “When you add less sleep and more crowd stress, it’s not surprising we start seeing more accidents.”
Falls from ladders, slips on floors, and trips over boxes and equipment are among the most common causes of injuries in the retail industry, the BLS reports. Overexertion due to lifting, lowering, and repetitive motion is also a high cause of injury in retail.
Nationally, retail was the only U.S. industry with an uptick in employee injuries from the previous year. About 3.5 of every 100 retail workers in the country suffered a job-related injury or illness in 2018, up from 3.3 in 2017.
“It’s our job to help Texas companies provide a safe and healthy environment for their workers, and to help employers understand OSHA regulations,” continued D’Amura. “It’s also our goal to help companies lower costs caused by lost productivity and injury claims.”
To learn more about DWC’s (Texas Division of Workers Compensation) workplace safety and health training programs and free, on-site consultation services, visit www.txsafetyatwork.com or call 800-252-7031, option 2.