The leading industry for fatal workplace violence, is the retail industry.  In fact in 2016, there were 127  deaths.  Those establishments that remain open late are most at risk and represent the majority of incidents.  Although retail is not typically considered a high hazard industry, approximately 11% of all occupational fatalities have been in retail.

Retail has a broad definition which contributes to the high number of fatal incidents in businesses including gas stations, convenience and grocery stores, eating and drinking establishments, and even jewelry stores. The most common type of lethal workplace incidents come from robberies involving the shooting of a worker, and the retail workers with an above average risk include gasoline service, and garage workers, stock handlers and baggers, sales supervisors and proprietors, and sales counter clerks.

The frequency of lethal incidents which often only capture headlines for a few days are noted with the recent active shooter incident resulting in four deaths at the Tennessee Waffle House [April 22, 2018].  Over the past several years there have been multiple mass shootings in retail including the Tunkhannock Pennsylvania [2017] supermarket shooting where three were killed and the Chuck E. Cheese killings in Aurora Colorado [1993] where four lost their lives and one injured.

Why are retail workers at great risk?

There are a variety of factors that come into play that creates risk to these workers.  First they tend to have greater exposure to the public than most other industries.  Secondly, there is very typically a great deal of money that is exchanged in plain view and cash is kept in cash registers on-site.  Third, It is not uncommon for retail workers to work alone or in very small numbers.

What can you do?

The best thing to do is to acknowledge that the potential exists for your retail facility and then have an assessment conducted by professionals who can do the following:

  1. Review records incidents and consider past experiences.
  2. Retail workplace inspection and security analysis.
  3. Determine the right training/education for retail staff.
  4. Conduct reality based training for active shooter incidents.
  5. Perform periodic safety audit.

Next steps...

Has your retail establishment developed a plan and prepared your employees for a potential lethal event that would have devastating and life treating consequences?  Now is the time to collaborate with professionals who have first hand experience. Click here to contact us.

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