Young Retail Workers – Violence at Work

Photo group - A manager points her finger at a frightened young woman worker holding a basket of French fries; gun tucked into pants waist band; man point at another man


Retail work is one of the highest risk jobs for workplace violence. Violence isn’t just hitting, fighting, and shooting. It can also be sexual harassment, rape, bullying, stealing, and verbal abuse. Jobs that require you to work alone at night, handle money, and sell alcohol, particularly in poorly lit areas, will increase your risk for workplace violence. Workplace violence is more common, such as convenience stores and gasoline stations.

Tips for Staying Safe

  • You might want to talk to your supervisor about these things that NIOSH recommends employers do:
    • Keep windows from being covered up by signs or displays.
    • Make sure the place you work has enough light inside and out.
    • Make sure alarms and cameras work.
    • Make sure you stay informed about the security and safety plan.
    • Make sure all workers know which doors should stay locked. Check those doors often.
  • You should understand these ways to stay safe and know what to do in an emergency.


Retail businesses at high risk of assaults and violent acts include convenience stores, gas stations, and businesses that sell alcoholic beverages.

Find Out More

OSHA Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

Hidden Dangers: Risks of Wholesale and Retail Work Largely Unnoticed

OSHA: Safety and health topics: workplace violence

NIH: Understanding small business engagement in workplace violence prevention programs

CDC: Sexual violence surveillance: uniform definitions and recommended data elements

Disparities in work-related homicide rates in selected retail industries in the United States, 2003-2008

WorkSafe BC: Preventing violence, robbery, and theft: a guide for retail owners, managers, and workers

NIOSH Video: Violence on the Job


Anderson V, Schulte P, Sestito J, Linn H, Nguyen L [2010]. Occupational fatalities, injuries, illnesses, and related economic loss in the wholesale and retail trade sector. Am J Indus Med 53:673–685.

NIOSH Safety & Health Topic: Occupational Violence