How common are injuries in the retail sector?
When one thinks of dangerous work environments, retail does not spring to mind. However, in the year 2018/19, more than 6,500 non-fatal retail and wholesale injuries were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The statistics are likely an underestimate. as many injuries do not need to be reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).
In most shops and supermarkets, there will be a storeroom or warehouse facility behind the scenes. Storerooms are particularly dangerous as there will often be a requirement for employees to stack shelves, lift heavy items and climb ladders. There may be heavy lifting machinery, such as forklift trucks.
Typical injuries include slips and trips, objects falling when shelf stacking and manual handling injuries.
Due to the seasonality of some retail, there are often temporary or part-time staff working in a shop. Temp workers may not have received adequate training leading to increased injury risk.
Spillages and slippery floors can also present a hazard to both customers and staff.
What to do if you have been injured in a shop
Get medical attention
Your health is the priority. All other steps can be dealt with after you have sought medical attention. Even if you are initially helped by your company’s first aider, you should visit A&E or your GP, as appropriate.
You should ask the medical professional for a written record of your visit. The record should include the time and date and details of the injuries, prescriptions etc. Make sure you keep a copy of the medical report as it may be vital evidence should you decide to make a retail accident claim.
Even if you don’t plan to start a compensation claim now, you should still keep a record or file containing any company correspondence, your own notes, accident reports and witness details.
You could also keep a diary of medical appointments, expenses relating to your injuries, and notes about how your recovery is progressing and how your life has been affected.
If you do decide to make a claim, the more information you have the easier it will be.
Reporting an accident in a shop
Once you have received medical attention and the scene of the accident has been made safe, you should report the incident to your manager or supervisor. If you cannot, ask someone else at your workplace to do so. If you are a contractor you should inform the person you report to.
Can I claim injury compensation for a shop accident?
As a basic rule, If you were injured in the last 3 years and someone else was to blame, you may be able to claim financial compensation for your injuries.
You can make a retail injury claim if your accident happened for reasons like:
- You were told to do something that you have not been trained for
- Another worker, contractor or shop patron did something dangerous
- You were not given suitable protective equipment, such as gloves when cleaning
- You were injured by poor-quality or broken equipment, such as an old stepladder or faulty boxcutter
Financial help if I can't work
After an accident at work, you may be able to claim for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) and other benefits, depending on your circumstances.
You may also be able to make a work accident compensation claim. A compensation award will include loss of wages as well as any future anticipated loss of earnings.
If you are unable to meet your living costs after the accident, it may also be possible to get an interim payment in advance of the final claim settlement.
How will my employment status affect my right to claim?
If you are employed in retail and have a valid claim, making a claim against your employer is relatively straightforward. If you are self-employed, working through an agency placement or on a zero-hours contract, a claim may still be possible but the process will be different.
Read more about claiming if you are:
How much can I claim?
The compensation you can claim following an accident at work will depend on what injuries or illness you have suffered, and how serious those injuries are.
The final amount will also factor in:
- What impact the injury or illness has had on your life and ability to work
- Any financial losses or expenses that were caused by your injuries
The Work Accident Advice Centre online calculator sets out what you can claim for, and how much compensation you could claim.
How to make a No Win, No Fee claim
Retail accident claims can almost always be made on a No Win, No Fee basis. No win, no fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
When you formally instruct your solicitor, you sign a 'Conditional Fee Agreement', or 'CFA'. This CFA sets out the details of how No Win, No Fee works. The CFA also sets out what your solicitor will be paid if the claim is successful and you are awarded compensation. Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, a solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of a claimant's compensation.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor