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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Working safely in retail during the holidays

While many workplaces slow down around the December holidays, things for workers in the retail sector are as busy as they’ll get all year. 

With more people in and out of stores, more stock in the back rooms and on the floor, and more seasonal elements being carried indoors, there are even more hazards that could lead to workplace injuries for workers in the retail sector. 

In 2021, 2,185 Nova Scotians working in the retail industry were injured on the job, and 478 of them were injured seriously enough to lose time from work. Workers under the age of 25 accounted for 26% of those injuries.  

Retail worker assisting customer

Sprains, strains and tears are the most common types of injuries for the sector, caused by overexertion while lifting, improper bending, climbing, reaching or twisting, or a slip, trip or fall. Retail workers are also at risk for cuts, contusions, fractures and all other kinds of injuries. 

There is no gift or grocery order that should come at the cost of health and safety. No matter how busy it gets, always make the time to work safely. 


Here are some great resources to help retail workers to stay safe this holiday season so they can make the most of their well-deserved time off: 

workers at the counter

How Nova Scotia’s retail workers were hurt during the holidays last year:

In November and December of 2021, 372 retail workers were injured in Nova Scotia. Here are just some of the ways they got hurt on the job: 

  • Employee got their arm caught between two carts.

  • Pain in left knee; over a period of time, attributed to kneeling and stooping/crouching to stock shelves

  • Tested positive for Covid-19.

  • Lumbar sprain/strain. Repetitive prolonged postures while making room for more inventory.

  • Rib fractures caused when the worker went to get up on trailer and slipped and fell, bounced off and landed on the ground on his left side.

  • While cleaning slicer, laceration to right finger.

  • Worker fell and injured right knee in icy parking lot at work.

  • Slipped on oil on floor and twisted right knee

  • Banged head on a metal bar.

  • Worker was setting up for a seasonal tire change when he tripped over a tire bag that was mostly hidden, and injured right knee.

  • A wooden piece of trim fell and hit worker's face, knocking out an incisor.

How could these injuries have been prevented? What PPE or safety procedures could have helped protect these workers? 

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