Retail Workers

The retail environment may not appear as dangerous as a construction zone, but in recent years, the combined injury and illness rate for retail workers was higher than in the construction industry. Retail is a labor-intensive industry and retail workers face a host of safety hazards on the job, including:

  • Slip and falls from liquid or powder spills, objects blocking walkways, uneven surfaces, and wet or icy parking lots and sidewalks
  • Repetitive tasks that cause musculoskeletal disorders
  • Heavy lifting
  • Injuries from using box cutters and knives
  • Workplace violence, especially for those working late shifts in stores located in high-crime areas

Injuries Common in the Retail Industry

These types of safety hazards can cause injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to serious wounds that require emergency treatment. Some injuries need time to heal resulting in lost wages for the worker and extra costs for the employer. Retail workers frequently experience injuries, such as:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders, the most common injury for retail workers, which include sprains and strains from lifting and carrying inventory, stocking shelves, and bagging
  • Fractures, bruises, and broken bones from slip and falls
  • Repetitive stress injuries from scanning barcodes and packing, such as tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Some injuries are sudden with immediate pain, but others develop slowly over time until a worker experiences debilitating problems, such as the inability to grip something, or back problems that prevent them from working. All retail employees should know the early signs of repetitive stress injuries, which include pain, numbness, soreness, tingling, swelling, and weakness. Ignoring these signs can lead to a severe injury.

Preventing Injuries at Work

Almost all work-related injuries are preventable, and retailers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for employees. Ways to prevent workplace injuries include:

  • Scheduling regular breaks for workers
  • Providing training about proper lifting, carrying techniques, and similar safety prevention methods
  • Slowing down the pace of work to allow the body to recover between movements
  • Practicing good housekeeping methods to reduce the risk of slip and falls
  • Providing protective equipment where possible, such as gloves for workers using box cutters

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Retail Workers

Unfortunately, accidents can happen even in a workplace run by the most safety-conscious employer. New Jersey requires all employers to have insurance for such cases. If you were injured in a work-related accident, you may be eligible for benefits that will help cover your medical expenses, lost wages if you miss work, and partial or total disability benefits.

Anyone injured at work should notify their employer immediately and seek treatment from a medical professional. Be sure to tell your doctor that your injury occurred at work. Do not delay reporting your injury as this could jeopardize your claim for benefits. The insurance company may question the seriousness of your injury if you did not report it. Your employer may not retaliate against you for filing for workers’ compensation. Any adverse action, such as termination, demotion, transfer, withholding of wages, or denial of promotion is strictly prohibited by law. For advice on filing a claim for benefits, consult with a qualified South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer.

South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Advocate for Injured Retail Workers

If you suffered a work-related injury at your retail job, you may be eligible for compensation. At Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP, our South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers will evaluate your case and obtain the maximum allowable benefits. Call us at 856-761-3773 today or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Cinnaminson, Delran, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:
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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:

Please be advised that in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which imposed strict limitations on the operations of "brick-and-mortar" businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, all N.J. workers’ compensation courts will continue to be closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until April 13, 2020.

In response to overwhelming requests from the Workers’ Compensation Bar to hold non-emergent matters electronically or by teleconference, as of April 6, 2020, the following Workers’ Compensation Judges shall be designated by the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation as essential personnel and shall report to their home vicinages for the purpose of hearing as many Workers’ Compensation matters as possible by telephonic conferencing, including all emergent matters and the following non-emergent matters, pre-trial conferences, general motions for medical and temporary benefits, and settlements by affidavit:

Hon. Audrey Kernan, S.J., Atlantic City WC Courthouse
Hon. Arthur Marchand, A.S.J., Bridgeton WC Courthouse
Hon. Ingrid French, A.S.J., Camden WC Courthouse
Hon. Lionel Simon III, A.S.J., Freehold WC Courthouse
Hon. Diana Ferriero, S.J., Hackensack WC Courthouse
Hon. Jill Fader, S.J., Jersey City WC Courthouse
Hon. Glenn Kaplan, S.J., Lebanon WC Courthouse
Hon. Michael Luther, S.J., Mt. Arlington WC Courthouse
Hon. George Geist, S.J., Mt. Holly WC Courthouse
Hon. Ashley Hutchinson, A.S.J., New Brunswick WC Courthouse
Hon. Philip Tornetta, A.S.J., Newark WC Courthouse
Hon. William Roca, S.J., Paterson WC Courthouse
Hon. Maria Del Valle Koch, S.J., Plainfield WC Courthouse
Hon. Eugene Mulvaney, S.J., Toms River WC Courthouse
Hon. David Puma, S.J., Trenton WC Courthouse

The Division’s plan is to limit physical interactions in our workers’ compensation courts to the greatest extent possible and shift to the use of telephone conferencing, and if possible video conferencing for judges, attorneys, and litigants. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing motions for medical and temporary benefits and trials in which case social distancing will be enforced). Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.

The N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation’s number one goal is to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to court personnel, attorneys and their staff, litigants, witnesses, and members of the public at large.

Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP also continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on our local community and the world at large. In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, our office is closed and the members of the firm continue to work remotely. As such, the members of the firm may have limited access to information during this time. We continue to appreciate your understanding. We encourage our current clients, new clients, and fellow members of the bar to contact us via e-mail as that remains the best form of communication. All attorneys and paralegals have access to e-mail and case information. We have designated essential personnel to report to our office for the purpose of handling emergent matters only and to complete essential administrative tasks. Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP remains committed to complying with all health and governmental regulations. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those most affected by this situation.