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PA Workers Comp Safety: Working in Retail

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When it comes to Pennsylvania workers compensation and occupational hazards, retail is one of the most often overlooked positions. This is because most people consider retail to be a generally safe industry to work in. 
 
However, it may surprise you to know that, in 2012 alone, 125,650 retail workers were injured on the job. In this post, we will share some information about the most common work-related injuries that occur in retail, as well as what can be done to prevent them. 
 
Injuries
Most retail jobs involve light to medium labor. Employees can be doing anything from stocking shelves to mopping the floor. Tasks such as these usually require a lot of lifting and bending over. Here are the most common injuries associated with retail: 
 
 
Safety and Injury Prevention
Most retail injuries are caused by lifting. When doing any kind of lifting, it’s important to utilize the best lifting practices.  
 
The most common cause for lifting-related injuries is trying to lift an object that is too heavy. This usually occurs when the object weighs more than 50 pounds. If an object weighs more than 50 pounds, it should either be move with some type of machinery (forklift, pallet jack), broken down into smaller pieces and moved in multiple trips (if possible), or lifted and carried with the assistance of a coworker. 
 
Additionally, workers are at great risk for injury when they do not lift objects using proper posture. It’s important to lift with the knees, not the back. Avoid reaching (use a ladder if necessary), and hold onto the object with both hands, keeping it close to your body, regardless of how light it may seem.  
 
Those that work in retail are also at great risk for overexertion and repetitive-stress injuries. Overexertion takes place when the body is pushed beyond its limits. For example: hurting your back when lifting a heavy box, choosing to ignore the pain, and continuing to work. 
 
A repetitive-stress injury occurs when someone continually performs a task or motion that damages one ore more parts of the body. Examples include working with vibrating equipment, working in uncomfortable positions, bending over, and heavy lifting. 
 
The best way to prevent injuries such as these is the listen to your body. Take frequent breaks and don’t work in awkward positions. And, if you feel any pain whatsoever, stop working immediately, speak with your supervisor or, if necessary, seek medical attention. 
 
If you work in retail and have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers compensation benefits. If you live in the Harrisburg, Lancaster, or Chambersburg area, contact PaWorkersCompHelpNow at (717) 234-2402 for a free consultation. 
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