The diverse employers of the retail sector in Nova Scotia represent many different types of workplaces, from small locally-owned establishments to major grocery change to large big-box stores.
Retail has the third-highest number of lost time injuries in the province. In 2018, there were 555 serious injuries in the retail sector. That marks a significant improvement over 2006 when there were 940 lost time injuries. Still, the retail sector represents nearly 9.5 per cent of all workplace injuries in Nova Scotia. Last year, 1.09 per cent of covered retail workers experienced a workplace injury.
The hazards in retail are diverse. Generally speaking, most often people get hurt moving bags, boxes and other materials, especially heavier things, using tools and equipment—from box cutters to pallet jacks, and everything in between, and from slipping and falling, often caused by spills or other slippery surfaces. It’s also one of the industries where young people get their start, and it has a higher number of young worker injuries.
Of course, rarely does one single thing lead to injury. Many contributing factors lead to people getting hurt - from the way work is designed and set up, to factors about workload, to many, many other causes. That’s why it’s so important to learn everything you can about staying safe.
The Retail Council of Canada is working with other safety leaders in the province to begin establishing an industry voice for workplace safety.
Check out this guide for new workers in retail.