Trends in Retail Workers' Comp Claims

Topics: Retail

Retail shops come in all sizes, from large supermarket chains and warehouses to local mom and pop hardware stores. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail sales and jobs have continued to grow over the last ten years. They forecast that retail sales (both in-store and online) could increase 4.4% to $3.8 billion. Today, there are over 1 million retail establishments in the United States with nearly 4,800,000 workers, with a salesperson being the most common position. Clothing and accessory stores are the largest employer of these types of workers. Merchandise for retail stores can be sold in a brick-and-mortar location, through mail order, door-to-door sales or via the internet.


Download the AmTrust Retail Risk Report

AmTrust’s 2019 Retail Risk Report

Retail is one of the key industries that AmTrust Financial writes. Matt Zender, senior vice president and workers’ compensation product manager at AmTrust, explains, “We really like this segment – we like to write it, we like to try to support them in every way possible, and in the event of a claim, we try to do everything we can to get that injured worker safely back to work as quickly as possible.”

AmTrust reviewed three years of workers’ compensation claims data for the retail (four walls) class code in our 2019 Retail Risk Report. The data revealed that average claim costs and lost time vary widely depending on injury type and other factors.

Our claims data found:

• When an injury involves lost time, the worker is out an average of 24 days.
• Strains are the most common injury payout group, but the average payout per injury is higher for slips and falls.
• Older, experienced workers were injured less frequently, but when they were, the injuries were likely to be more severe with a higher payout.
• Men are more likely to file injury claims and the results of their claims yield higher payouts, likely due to a higher percentage of men performing riskier tasks.

Similar to the findings in the CDC report mentioned below, our data found that the most common occupational risks retail workers face are from strains and slips and falls. Lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, repetitive motion, using tools and machinery can all contribute to strain injuries. Many of these repetitive tasks happen in a warehouse or stockroom, while placing inventory in the store, or servicing customers. Common slips and falls include ground level, on ice or snow, on stairs or on wet surfaces.

The Retail Risk Report looks at the claims information to uncover:

• Common retail workers’ injuries and lost time in the workplace
• Industry loss ratio trends
• Most commonly injured body parts in retail
• How to implement loss control best practices to help reduce risks



Retail Workers at Risk for Injuries

A Center for Disease Control (CDC) study found that the most common injuries across all types of retail stores include sprains and strains, cuts/lacerations, punctures, bruises, contusions and fractures, no matter the type of retail operation. The leading events or exposures that contributed to nonfatal injuries were:

• Contact with object/equipment
• Overexertion
• Falls on the same level

The most frequently identified injured body parts include the shoulders, back and the lower back area. According to the study, contact with containers, followed by injuries from floor surfaces, walkways or ground surfaces are the main sources associated with the onset of injuries/illnesses for retail workers.

Jeff Corder, VP of loss control at AmTrust, states, “The majority of retail employees’ job description and daily activities include repetitive bending, stooping, squatting and lifting. If employees are not trained and/or if safe practices are not enforced, injury is imminent. Having new hire training, regular safety meetings, and holding all employees accountable, including management, will help decrease the frequency of strains and all types of injuries/accidents.”

By having the correct safety measures in place, retail store owners can have peace of mind they are protecting both their customers and employees. Reducing risks in a retail store starts by looking for potential hazards and training your employees on safe work habits. Safety prevention training includes:

Preventing slips, trips and falls
Back injury prevention
Ladder safety
Forklift safety


Retail Risk Management Solutions

AmTrust knows that safety training is key to a proactive approach to minimalizing injuries, incidents and controlling costs for retail stores. AmTrust’s Loss Control Department can help insureds by providing the right safety resources to ensure their ongoing success.

For a more detailed look into the retail industry claims data, download your free copy of The 2019 Retail Risk Report. Contact AmTrust’s Loss Control team for more information about creating a customized loss control program for your retail organization.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.


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