Two-Thirds of Retail Workers Worry about Their Safety, New Report Shows

Two Thirds of Retail Workers Worry about Their Safety New Report Shows

The report, Motorola Solutions’ The State of Retail Worker Safety, highlights ways to make the retail space safer.

In a new study by Motorola Solutions, many retail workers are expressing concern for their personal safety. Nearly two-thirds of retail employees surveyed said they feel apprehensive about safety risks like theft and hostile customers, which they claim have increased in the past year.

According to a release dated Dec. 11, Motorola Solutions’ The State of Retail Worker Safety report surveyed over 1,000 U.S. retail associates and managers. The first-ever study—conducted by independent market research firm Researchscape in November 2023—found 54 percent experienced more petty theft, while 35 percent reported a rise in grab-and-run incidents. And 31 percent of respondents said they have encountered more hostility from customers.

“The holiday bustle can be a stressful time for retailers. Sales associates and managers shouldn’t have to be concerned about their safety on top of everything else,” Sharon Hong, vice president of Ecosystem Solutions at Motorola Solutions, said in a statement. “Our report found that retail workers are looking for more technology that can help them be better aware of safety threats, spot illicit activity and communicate quickly and seamlessly with other employees and first responders should an incident arise.”

Among the survey’s other findings, retail employees reported a heavy reliance on low-tech methods like landlines (58 percent) and PA systems (45 percent) for emergency communication, with 28 percent of respondents turn to yelling to let coworkers know an incident has occurred. However, respondents largely confess that technology has a positive effect on how safe they feel.

Seventy-six percent of respondents said they currently have video security, 64 percent have alarm systems and 44 percent feature merchandise sensors in their stores. Also, 42 percent of those surveyed desire AI for gun detection to create a safer environment, 36 percent want access control systems to lock doors and 30 percent want panic buttons and license plate readers.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of retailers who responded have recently updated safety protocols, including emergency response training and better incident communication, to improve preparedness. Roughly a quarter of the workforce has considered quitting due to safety issues, suggesting that investments in advanced safety measures could improve staff retention.

The State of Retail Worker Safety is available to download on the Motorola Solutions website.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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