Hazard Alert

Chasing shoplifter results in injury

One evening two sales clerks were working in a retail store. A customer picked up some items, including glass bottles. He headed for the cash register, but 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: http://www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/preventing_violence.pdf
To order a print copy, contact the WorkSafeBC store at 604 232-9704 or toll-free at 1 866-319-9704.

View a slide show on preventing violence in retail stores: http://www2.worksafebc.com/publications/multimedia/slideshows.asp?reportid=34014

Industry: Retail
Young worker