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How can workplace injuries in the retail industry be prevented?

Although the hazards may vary, on-the-job injuries occur in any industry in Missouri. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations for every type of industry, and an employers' failure to abide by those safety rules may lead to workplace injuries. In addition, OSHA may issue hefty fines for safety violations.

A known safety hazard in supermarkets is areas where water or dropped fresh produce pose slip and fall threats. However, the proper handling of merchandise -- in the store and the storage areas -- is also vitally important. Employers are expected to provide precise instructions related to the stacking and display of merchandise. Display units that are not securely assembled may collapse and cause injuries to customers and workers. The stability of display units should be checked at regular intervals.

Employees should be aware of the maximum weight allowed on each display unit as overloading can have devastating consequences. In addition, staff members should use ladders rather than any other means to place or remove stock in the storage area. Falling merchandise can cause severe injuries and even death. All areas should regularly be swept to get rid of anything that may cause a worker or customer to trip and fall.

Retail workers often work on -- or in the vicinity of -- forklifts in warehouses. This area has a different set of safety regulations to be followed. Many Missouri workers in the retail industry who have suffered workplace injuries choose to retain the services of a workers' compensation attorney. The experience of such a professional will guide injured workers through the complex process of claiming benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. Successful claims may result in compensation for medical expenses, along with a percentage of lost income.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Retailer not getting the message on OSHA violations", Oct. 22, 2014

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