Occupational hazards exist in almost all jobs. Many people in Pennsylvania might not realize that cashiers put their health -- and even their lives -- on the line to serve their customers. If this is how you earn your income, you will know that when it comes to robberies, your job falls in the highest risk sector.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers must protect the health and safety of all employees, even those who work part-time and earners of minimum wages. Did you start your job as a cashier without any experience? Employers must provide adequate safety training, inform workers of potential risks and teach them how to deal with dangerous or threatening situations.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who deals directly with the public by handling monetary transactions is at risk of suffering any of the following injuries or illnesses:
- Robberies: The United States Department of Labor and Statistics says that the risk of cashiers being victims of homicide or robberies is higher than any other occupation. You will be at a higher risk if the business that employs you is directly off the street such as a convenience store or a gas station.
- Musculoskeletal disorders: If you spend most of your shift standing, you will likely develop musculoskeletal disorders such as swollen feet, leg pain and pain in your lower back. Your employer might provide a tall chair that will allow you to sit down at times when your back and leg pains become overwhelming.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Your job likely requires you to repeat the same motions while moving merchandise and typing on the cash register. Repeated hand or finger movements can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is an extremely painful condition.
- Neck and shoulder pain: If your workstation is not ergonomically designed, you might have to lift and lower your arm repetitively every time you accept payment, hand the client the receipt, and move his or her purchases. Lowering or adjusting the position of the cash register might prevent chronic neck and shoulder pain.
- Sleep disorders: If you work the late shift for extended periods, you might develop a disorder that keeps you from falling asleep during the day and leaves you sleepy and tired at night when you have to be alert. If you drink too much coffee or other beverages containing caffeine to stay awake, it might make it even more difficult to sleep the next day.
- Exposure to illnesses: Your interaction with clients will expose you to all kinds of germs on the money, the counter surface that they touch, and their coughs and sneezes. A proper hand sanitizing gel might limit the risk of contracting colds, flu or other illnesses.
Unfortunately, your job will always pose some health risks. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance program will cover the costs of any work-related medical treatment you need. If you suffered an illness or injury that prevented you from returning to work for several days, the benefits would also cover lost wages. An experienced Pennsylvania attorney can help you with the navigation of a benefits claim.