Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home


wholesale and retail trade

Inputs: Occupational Safety and Health Risks

More than 21 million workers in wholesale and retail trade are at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. In 2008, approximately 751,300 workers were injured at work in performing their jobs. Approximately 55% were severe enough to require days away from work, job transfer, or restriction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data also suggests that the overall number of injuries and fatalities may be attributed to a subset or subsector of high risk workplaces, such as mail order, home stores, or gasoline stations, etc. Young workers make up a significant part of the workforce in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector. Overall, workers aged 16-19 have twice the injury rate of workers of all ages.

The BLS publishes detailed information about occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for all industry sectors.


In 2008, there were 465 fatalities in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector. A large number of the fatalities occurred in retail motor vehicle and parts dealers, food and beverage stores, and gasoline stations, jobs which employ young and often inexperienced workers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2010

Fatal occupational injuries* by private industry† and selected event or exposure, 2008

Wholesale and Retail TradeFatalitiesSelected event or exposure (%) §
NumberPercent **Highway ‡HomicidesFallsStruck by object
Wholesale trade
Merchant wholesalers, durable goods
Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods
Retail trade
Motor vehicle and parts dealers
Food and beverage stores

Source:Fatal occupational injuries by industry and selected event or exposure, 2008

Additional BLS occupational fatality information can be found in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Nonfatal injuries and illnesses

Wholesale and Retail Trade

While the incidence rates for both of these industry sectors remained relatively unchanged in 2008, the rate for retail trade (4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers) was significantly higher than the rate of 3.7 cases for wholesale trade and the rate of 3.9 cases for private industry as a whole. All industries in North America are classified by NAICS (North American Industry Classification System). Within wholesale trade, metal and mineral (except petroleum) merchant wholesalers [NAICS 4235], grocery and related product merchant wholesalers [NAICS 4244], and beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers [NAICS 4248] had the highest incidence rate of injuries per 100 full-time workers with 6.6, 6.1, and 7.8, respectively. Within retail trade, pet and pet supplies stores [NAICS 45391] had a rate of 7.9 per 100 full-time workers and home centers [NAICS 44411] with the highest rate at 7.0 per 100 full-time workers. The hobby, toy and game stores [NAICS 45112] in retail trade had a rate of 7.0 per 100 full-time workers and Warehouse Clubs and Superstores [NAICS 45291] sector had a rate of 6.4 per 100 full-time workers.

Source: BLS Workplace Injury and Illness Summary

For detailed data on nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector, see Industry Injury and Illness Data

Additional BLS data on Case and Demographic Characteristics for Work-related Injuries and Illnesses Involving Days Away From Work

NIOSH fatal occupational injury cost fact sheet: Wholesale Trade
DHHS (NIOSH) 2006-156 (September 2006)

NIOSH fatal occupational injury cost fact sheet: Retail Trade
DHHS (NIOSH) 2006-157 (September 2006)

NIOSH Worker Health Chartbook, 2004
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2004-146
The Worker Health Chartbook, 2004 is a descriptive epidemiologic reference on occupational morbidity and mortality in the United States. A resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses, the Chartbook includes more than 400 figures and tables describing the magnitude, distribution, and trends of the Nation's occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

NOTE: Data presented in this document are based on the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), which does not correspond directly with the 2002 NAICS. Convert 1987 SIC codes to 2002 NAICS codes using Correspondence Tables: 1987 SIC Matched to 2002 NAICS

Contact Us:
  • Page last reviewed: November 14, 2012
  • Page last updated: November 14, 2012 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO