COVID-19: Are Grocery Store Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
As shopping at grocery stores became a necessity and an “essential” activity during the coronavirus crisis, grocery store workers are putting their own lives at risk while being on the front lines of the pandemic.
As grocery store employees and delivery shoppers are exposing themselves to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, some organizations are pushing to reclassify grocery store employees as emergency workers.
Are Grocery Store Workers Eligible to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
In addition to facing the risk of coronavirus exposure, grocery store workers are also exposed to a plethora of other hazards on their job. A grocery store employee can sustain a workplace injury while performing their job duties even despite taking precautions.
If you work at a grocery store in Tampa or other parts of Florida and have sustained an on-the-job injury, contact our Tampa workers’ compensation attorney to help you obtain workers’ comp benefits.
Florida law provides workers’ compensation benefits to workers, including grocery store employees, who are injured on their job. These benefits allow injured grocery store workers to pay their medical expenses and cover their lost wages.
Hazards That Cause Injury to Grocery Store Workers
Besides the risk of exposure to coronavirus, grocery store and supermarket employees can sustain a workplace injury due to the following on-the-job hazards:
- Lifting heavy items. Stocking up shelves is a critical part of a grocery store worker’s duties. Doing so often requires lifting heavy items, which can cause strains and sprains.
- Slip and fall accidents. Customers and employees at grocery stores often spill drinks and food on the floor, which can cause a worker to slip and fall.
- Falls from heights. As mentioned earlier, grocery store workers are required to stock up products on the shelves. Often, they must use a ladder to do so, which can cause them to fall from a height, especially if the ladder is faulty or defective.
- Overexertion injuries. Repetitive motion injuries are quite common among grocery store workers. As its name implies, a repetitive motion injury occurs when a worker performs repetitive movements for an extended period of time. This can cause inflammation of joints and ligaments. Cashiers at grocery stores and supermarkets are particularly susceptible to repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Standing for long periods of time. Many grocery store workers are required to work in a standing position throughout their work shift. Standing for prolonged periods of time can cause back damage, and leg and foot injuries.
- Being hit by heavy items. Various items on the shelves – or even the shelves themselves – can fall and hit customers and employees, which can lead to traumatic brain injuries.
- Cuts and burns. Certain grocery store workers, especially those working in the food preparation, butcher, bakery, deli, and produce departments are prone to cuts and burns while performing their job duties.
- Grocery stores are often robbed, which can cause workers to become victims of violence.
- Transportation-related accidents. Some grocery store employees are also at risk of getting injured by motor vehicles (e.g., a worker who collects shopping carts in the parking lot).
If you are a grocery store employee who was injured at work during the coronavirus crisis or after the pandemic, contact our Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys at Kobal Law to find out more about the workers’ comp claim process in Florida. Let our lawyers help you obtain benefits. Call at 813-873-2440 for a consultation.