December 13, 2011
Over the period from 2003 to 2008, more than half (51 percent) of the 2,129 fatal work injuries that occurred in private retail trade were the result of assaults and violent acts, most of which were homicides. By contrast, for all other industries in the private sector, assaults and violent acts accounted for 11 percent of the fatal workplace injuries.
After assaults and violent acts, the next most frequent types of fatal events in retail trade were transportation incidents (28 percent), falls (9 percent), and contact with objects and equipment (7 percent). In all other industries, transportation incidents were the most frequent fatal injury event—accounting for 42 percent of the total—while assaults and violent acts represented only 11 percent of the workplace fatalities.
Workers in retail trade face several risk factors associated with their jobs, including contact with the public, the exchange of money, delivery of goods and services, working alone or in small numbers, and working late at night or during the early morning hours. Most retail salespersons and cashiers work at cash registers and take payments from customers.
These data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), which is part of the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. CFOI compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the United States during a given calendar year. To learn more, see "Assaults and Violent Acts in the Private Retail Trade Sector, 2003–2008".