Workplace violence Wholesale and retail trade

NIOSH to convenience store owners: Take steps to protect workers from violence

video surveillance

Photo: Ecelop/iStockphoto

Washington – Simple changes to the store environment can help convenience store owners protect their employees from work-related violence, NIOSH researchers claim in a recent blog post.

In the April 26 post, the researchers note that the rate of work-related homicide is 7 times greater at convenience stores (2 homicides per 100,000 workers) than in all other industries (0.28 homicides per 100,000 workers). Store modifications could help reduce the risk, they state, citing data showing that retail establishments that participated in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design programs experienced a 30 percent to 84 percent decrease in robberies and a 61 percent decrease in nonfatal injuries. Cities such as Houston and Dallas have promoted CPTED principles by asking stores to do the following:

  • Register with the police department.
  • Watch a required training video.
  • Post no-trespassing signs.
  • Provide a clear view to and from the sales area.
  • Install an alarm system.

A 2011 study conducted by NIOSH found that only 9 percent of convenience stores in Houston and Dallas complied fully with city ordinances regarding security measures. “Some of the least complied-with measures were two approaches considered low-cost and straightforward to adopt – post signage and provide a clear view of the sales area,” the researchers wrote in the blog post. “Posting signage such as those stating store policy limiting cash, security cameras in use, etc., had 26 percent compliance and only 60 percent of stores complied with the visibility requirement.”

Intermediaries such as insurance companies and local chambers of commerce could help with the safety effort, the researchers added, asking small-business owners and other stakeholders to submit suggestions about other intermediaries to include in the process.

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