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Workers' compensation: The hazards faced by retail store workers

Workers in retail stores nationwide, including California, face many more safety hazards than most people would expect. Many workers' compensation claims filed each year involve injuries suffered by employees of retail stores. The risks they face were recently underscored by an $898,682 fine proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concerning four different Dollar Tree Stores in another state.

Reportedly, inspectors determined that employers in these stores knowingly exposed workers to safety hazards, despite previous citations for the same violations. OSHA says the investigations followed reports about inappropriately stacked boxes toppling over and falling onto an employee. The worker suffered injuries in that incident, and investigators say a similar incident occurred during an inspection at another Dollar Tree branch, with a worker barely escaping injury at that time.

The violations recorded during the inspections of these four stores included blocked exit routes, blocked aisles, and blocked electrical panels. Furthermore, unsafe storage practices were identified, with boxes inappropriately stacked. Inspectors found larger boxes stacked on top of smaller ones. Workers were also exposed to height hazards and falls from elevated areas, and ladders were misused.

Employees in retail stores in California should not accept these safety hazards as par for the course. Knowingly exposing workers to injury risks is unacceptable. Those who suffer work-related injuries can use the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue claims for benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Depending on the severity of the injuries, additional benefits as allowed under applicable laws might also be awarded.

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