Retail trade

All areas of retail fall within this industry, including online retail and commission based buying and selling.

Businesses that undertake repair of goods, for instance jewellery or watch repairs, as well as selling, are included in this industry. Businesses that primarily undertake repair and maintenance are excluded from the retail industry.

Top causes of injury

There are a vast range of activities and workplaces within this industry. Each workplace presents its own safety challenges. But, across the industry common causes of injuries are:

  • lifting or moving heavy objects
  • slips and trips
  • falls on the same level and from heights.

Common hazards

Long hours standing, lifting and moving heavy objects and working with dangerous chemicals such as hot oil, are common features of retail workplaces, as are:

  • ladders
  • overstocking shelves (clothes retail),
  • cuts (from open boxes and butcher knife work),
  • machine guarding (bakeries)
  • electric shock .

Each workplace is different. You need to know what the hazards are in your business so you can assess the risk they pose.

To help you get started, we’ve prepared information on how to identify hazards and manage the risks common to the retail trade industry, including:

  • providing first aid
  • lifting heavy objects
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • fatigue
  • violence.

Resources to help you

As the work health and safety regulator in NSW, we have a wide range of technical, business, management and support services to help you make our business safe.

Our 'resource' and 'hazard' libraries

Our resource library and hazard library is where you will find up-to-date information on managing hazards and risks as well as codes of practice.

We also have extensive information that will help you improve and review your risk management processes. This includes videos, checklists, training and supervisory information, and safety alerts.

SafeWork Australia also has a fact sheet on developing a hazardous chemicals register.

Our safety management resources

Our Safety starts here section has a range of essential resources including:

Our business resources

Our safety support services

If you employ fewer than 50 workers, you can book request a workplace advisory visit by one of our SafeWork inspectors who will help you identify hazards and develop risk management procedures.

Our mentor program, where other businesses work with you to improve safety in your workplace, is also a valuable addition to your risk management program.

You can call us on 13 10 50 at any time for assistance in finding the services you need quickly.

Keeping up to date

Get into the habit of checking our website twice a week for updates on your legislative obligations, on current incidents and prosecutions, for new safety tips and general health and safety information.

Link your business to our social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and never miss any of our news.

Subscribe to the SafeWork Wrap, our monthly newsletter, which contains safety tips, general information, industry updates, and news about our prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.

Subscribe to industry publications and join your industry group. The retail trade industry organisations include:


The NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation) define the obligations both employers and workers have to health and safety in the workplace.

The WHS legislation is supported by our Compliance policy and prosecution guidelines, which supplements the National compliance and enforcement policy.

You can find a complete breakdown of business operations that fall within the administrative and support services industry from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Back to top