Kroger Employee Workers' Compensation Lawyer: Chicago, Illinois
The Kroger supermarket chain hires people to work different roles like cashier, bagger, stocker, and cart attendant.
Kroger employees might be expected to routinely lift heavy boxes, climb ladders and step stools to reach inventory, replenish products on shelves and in refrigerated cases, help customers out to their vehicles, and maintain store cleanliness.
These daily responsibilities can result in on-the-job accidents that cause injuries for employees. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys help injured Kroger employees with their workers' compensation claims and third-party lawsuits to ensure they receive maximum benefits.
Call our Chicago, Illinois workers' compensation lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our workers' compensation law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Kroger Groceries, Inc is the second-largest private employer and the largest national grocery store company in the United States.
The company has over 400,000 employees working in various occupations, like managers, cashiers, machine operators, medical practitioners, baggers, cart attendants, and warehouse staff.
Kroger hires employees to perform various duties, including unloading trailers with merchandise, stocking shelves, building end displays and assisting customers, retrieving shopping carts, and carrying grocery bags.
These workers are frequently exposed to the various risks of a Kroger job. If you were hurt at work, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries after filing a workers' compensation claim.
In recent years, the services provided by Kroger have changed significantly. Many stores now offer prepared and fresh foods prepared and sold for consumption at home. These offerings include takeout meals, salads, and hot entrées offered in the deli department or hot service trace/bins in the deli aisle.
The number of employees in each Kroger supermarket varies by size and location, where many smaller stores have limited selections and staff members. In contrast, others employ hundreds of stockers, cashiers, and specialty department workers.
Workplace Injury Statistics and Injured Workers
While many workers stockers and cashiers, others perform their duties and specialty areas, including the deli department, meat market, fish market, fruit and vegetable section, health section, sundry department, and bakery.
An article published in 2003 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that workplace illnesses and injuries "have declined in grocery stores, while employment [numbers have] increased." However, "with employment expected to increase further, safety and health training will continue to be a priority and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses in this industry."
Were you or a family member injured while working at Kroger? If so, you are likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits for medical bill reimbursement.
Contact the workers' compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for more information and a free review of your legal rights and options.
Kroger Workers' Wages
The annual employment data maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016 revealed that 68,490 grocery workers were employed in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas.
These statistics reveal that Kroger workers earned on average $13.29 per hour, or $27,640 every year. This job-related income is significantly higher compared to national averages. See Chart
Common Hazards and Injuries
The work injuries and safety hazards at Kroger are similar to those and other local supermarkets. Many OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) statistics have identified dangerous situations and common hazards that expose Kroger employees to dangers of workplace accidents.
Some hazards and injuries at the largest supermarket chain include:
- Trip Hazards: Slip and trip hazards involving slick surfaces are common in food stores where storerooms, passageways, aisles develop slippery surfaces when mopped or when items fall from the shelves and break open. OSHA regulations mandate that every work area and aisle way remain clean and dry.
- Unsafe Storage Areas: Many storage areas on the retail floor and in the back rooms are filled with merchandise and containers that are not properly secured in place. These hazards expose Kroger employees to injury when removing merchandise while standing on the ladder on the aisle way or in the backroom receiving/storage area.
- Unstable Loads: Kroger's and other food stores deliver box-filled pallets containing daily merchandise. This cargo is brought in by semi-tractor-trailers and loaded on pallets wrapped with plastic to ensure the load is secured. Unfortunately, many of these loads are unstable or stacked too high that does not prevent collapsing or sliding.
- Block Pathways: There must be sufficient, safe clearances between stacked merchandise and equipment in the storage room and on loading docks to avoid serious accidents with injuries. There must be ample room to accommodate mechanical equipment, including motorized loading jacks and forklifts in areas with appropriately marked pathways.
- Locked Exits: The store should be equipped with dedicated exit routes that are locked from the outside but available for egress from the inside by pushing on a panic bar or other device that permits exiting through a locked door. Typically, these panic bars trip an alarm.
- Fire Hazards: Typically, the back room of the supermarket is filled with waste materials, like loose cardboard waiting to be taken away by third-party companies. However, before the material is taken from the supermarket, it must be securely stored that it doesn’t create a hazard.
- Broken Pallets: Any pallet in the store or delivery truck with broken or missing parts should be removed immediately to avoid potential hazards, including a collapse that could lead to an injured employee and others who suffer injuries by falling merchandise.
- Blocked Eyewash Area: Kroger employees and other supermarket clerks are often exposed to dangerous, toxic materials that might require a body wash or eyewash to flush or drench any injured area. When stacked merchandise, waste products, or other materials block the eyewash area, it is not available for immediate emergency use by those who might be suffering a burn from exposure to hazardous liquid or dangerous chemicals.
- Falling: Merchandise is often stored or stacked in high areas, including storage shelves or pallets. Many injuries from fall accidents occur to grocery workers and customers while falling when reaching or stretching to lower the merchandise to the floor or tripping in an uneven parking lot or sidewalk.
There are efforts that the employer can take to minimize potential hazards in the work environment. These efforts include installing non slip mats and requiring that every employee wear slip-resistant shoes to prevent a slip and fall on wet surfaces in the store.
The supermarket does not need to be a hazardous area for workers. There are effective steps that the store owner, supervisor, or manager can take to ensure the safety of everyone working in shopping at the market. The manager should encourage communication between the supervisor and staff to reduce safety risks in the work environment.
The employee should understand that management will hear their complaints if the deli slicer, forklift, pallet jack, or cardboard baler malfunctions and requires repair. A failure of the management to take effective steps now could cause serious problems, work delays, or horrific injuries in the future.
Repetitive Motion and Upper Limb Disorder
Stockers, meat cutters, cashiers, and others working in the supermarket are highly susceptible to serious injuries if proper precautions are not taken. These injuries are often the result of repetitive motion tasks that, over the years, could cause chronic injuries.
Like carpal tunnel syndrome, these injuries often result from a grocery worker failing to take a break at regular intervals. OSHA advises cashiers to slide the merchandise across the scanner instead of lifting the item. This effort will reduce twisting the hip and the wrist that could cause serious chronic injuries in the future.
Upper Limb Musculoskeletal Disorder
An additional problematic risk factor among grocery cashiers involves an upper limb disorder.
According to the US Department of Labor and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), cashiering is one of the leading occupations of men and women developing musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb.
This high-risk injury is often the result of performing duties at improper workstations or a lack of educating the cashier on the basics of biomechanical principles.
Cashiers often work in static and awkward postures for hours on end while conducting forceful exertion and repetitive motion that, over time, could cause significant injuries to the upper limb. ULD (Upper Limb Disorder) usually affects the neck, shoulders, fingers, and arms.
The pain is usually the result of stress on the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and soft tissue that affects the limb's nerve supply and circulatory system.
Injuries and Fatalities at Kroger's Supermarket
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited Krogers grocery stores many times for serious violations, including one in April 2015. In that incident, investigators found two willful and two serious safety violations that resulted in $130,000 in fines.
The federal agency acted on a complaint and found that "Kroger failed to remove damaged powered industrial trucks from service and to examine forklifts after each shift to report and correct defects. These violations resulted in two willful violations."
A willful violation is one "committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health."
The other two serious safety citations were issued by OSHA "for failing to train forklift operators and not properly repairing a pallet jack charger. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists."
- Case 1: May 2010 – An Indiana Kroger "employee was crushed under pallets of water which had fallen." The victim died on March 20, five days after the workplace accident occurred.
- Case 2: Lawrenceville, Georgia – A jury in Gwinnett County, Georgia, awarded a plaintiff $2.79 million to settle an injury case against Kroger's. The slip and fall incident left the female plaintiff with serious injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
- Case 3: Oakland County, Michigan – In July 2013, a shopper at a Hazel Park, Michigan Kroger supermarket slipped and fell to her knees on a slippery surface by a refrigerated lunch meat area. The woman sued the supermarket chain for her injuries. The woman claimed that the fall led to severe injuries, including a pulmonary embolism and bilateral knee injuries.
The injured employee above was entitled to file and receive compensation from Kroger workers. Additionally, all the victims and estates filed a claim against Kroger based on premises liability to hold the supermarket and other responsible parties financially accountable.
Let Our Law Firm Assist You With Filing Your Work Comp Claim Against Kroger
Our attorneys assist injured Kroger employees recover financial compensation under the IL Workers' Compensation Act and civil lawsuits. Call our office for a free consultation to discuss Kroger workers' compensation benefits.
Did you suffer an injury at work or become ill because of a related hazard associated with your job and believe you are entitled to workers' comp payments?
You may be worrying about how you will provide the necessities and pay the bills for your family during your recovery.
You may believe that you are too sick or too hurt to ever return to work in fear that you will lose the family home, the car, and your ability to provide for your loved ones in the future.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, Inc. (888-424-5757) has assisted thousands of individuals in nearly every occupation, and our attorneys can help your family too.
You may have no idea where to turn to recover financially from an occupational injury. However, many individuals like you have been in the same situation and sought counsel and advice from a reputable personal injury attorney.
A seasoned lawyer could assist your family in successfully resolving your monetary compensation claim against Kroger and all parties at fault. Our law firm working on your behalf can handle every aspect of the case to ensure the appropriate documentation is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim for Medical Treatment and Lost Wages
Kroger supermarkets must carry workers' compensation insurance on every employee to ensure they are compensated for medical treatment and lost wages if injured on the job.
Like nearly all businesses, the second-largest private employer must follow workers' compensation laws to cover illnesses and physical injuries, so workers are not strapped with financial hardships after an accident happens.
Based on the work accident, the injured worker must file a claim against Kroger submitted through its workers' compensation insurance company.
The workers' compensation program provides immediate medical treatment and all medical bill reimbursement even when an employee is responsible for their own accident.
Severely injured employees are entitled to pick their physicians, any particular medical facility of their choosing, physical therapy specialists, and nurse case managers if needed for their medical care.
Additionally, their workers' compensation benefits cover all medical expenses for care at any hospital or particular medical facility through a total or partial disability payment.
Contact a Kroger Workers Compensation & Injury Law Firm
Are you the victim of a workplace accident requiring immediate medical treatment, or are you facing months or years of ongoing medical expenses and lost wages even if you are responsible for your own accident?
Our workplace injury attorneys work directly with insurance adjusters and ensure that injured workers must follow specific requirements to file a claim.
Every work injury attorney in our law firm understands comprehensive workers' comp laws and how to maximize benefits to the workers' compensation program. We will file a workers' compensation claim on your behalf and ensure that you promptly receive your total or partial disability payment every week or two weeks.
You will never make an upfront payment to our law firm because we handle every personal injury and workers' compensation case through contingency agreements withholding the responsible parties financially accountable.
This arrangement postpones all legal fees until the attorneys have successfully resolved your workers’ compensation claim or third-party case through a negotiated out-of-court settlement or a jury trial award.
This agreement ensures you owe our workers' compensation law firm nothing if we do not win! Contact us today!