Hazard Alert
Industry: Retail   Experience: 3-6 months
Young worker
Young worker injured while pursuing shoplifter

Two sales clerks were handling sales at a liquor store in the evening. A customer picked up two 40-ounce bottles, headed for the cash register, then suddenly ran to the exit. One sales clerk grabbed the shoplifter and was dragged outside the store. The shoplifter swung a bottle at the sales clerk, who received a cut requiring stitches.

Safe work practices:

  • Unless you are trained to intervene without risk to yourself or your co-workers, do not try to physically stop a shoplifter.
  • Never lock the door to keep a shoplifter from leaving. A person who feels trapped is more likely to panic and become violent.
  • Remain at least an arm's length away from the shoplifter.
  • Do not chase the shoplifter.
    It will only invite violence.
  • Try to remember the shoplifter's height, weight, hair and skin colour, features, clothing, and even their shoes.
  • Immediately report the incident to your manager, security, or police.
  • Set up and implement a theft prevention plan for your business. Ensure the plan considers your hours of operation, store layout, and employees who work alone.
  • Train employees to follow safe procedures if they see a shoplifter.
  • Make your store unattractive to shoplifters. For example, have good lighting and visibility throughout the store.
  • People who steal do not like attention, so train employees to make eye contact and greet everyone who enters the store.

For more information see the publication Preventing Violence, Robbery, and Theft at http://www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/preventing_violence.pdf

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INJURY 05-03