Most Common Injuries For Retail Workers

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, the retail industry is running at full capacity. Each year, major chains across the country hire thousands upon thousands of seasonal workers. Because of the wide range of tasks and the physical requirements of the industry, retail workers are at risk for several, specific occupational injuries. Additionally, high staff turnover means very few workers receive adequate training. What little training is provided often has nothing to do with workplace safety or proper body movement techniques. The following are some of the most common work-related injuries suffered in the field of retail.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, a major injury risk for retail workers involves musculoskeletal disorders. Around 83,000 workers suffered a musculoskeletal disorder in 2003.The cause of these disorders is often related to handling materials or lifting heavy products, but understaffing is another contributing factor. When workers are forced to take on longer hours or perform tasks they aren’t trained to do, the risk of injury is much higher. Some examples of musculoskeletal disorders include back pain, sprains, strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.


A recent research report by the Department of Labor & Industries (DLI) lists two types of falls as one of seven common injuries among retail workers. These include falls from higher elevation, such as from ladders or roofs, and falls from the same elevation, which include slips and trips.

Caught or Struck By Objects

The same DLI report also lists body parts being pinned, squeezed, struck, or pinched by external objects as a major cause of injury for retail workers. Also found in this category is damage done to the eardrum via excessive noise.

Burns & Open Wounds

A report on cites several statistics on injuries suffered by young people at work. According to the source, burns and open wounds are among the top injuries reported, with the most commonly injured body parts being the arms and hands. The report states that the risks of injury increase with the number of hours a person works, with the highest incidence of youth injuries occurring in workers who start working before 7am or finish working after 7pm.