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Retail Safety and the Holiday Season

It’s the time of year when retail workers are challenged the most. Dealing with sale-hungry shoppers during the busiest shopping season, not to mention working extended hours, can really put a strain on an employee.

It’s important to keep in mind that even with the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, employers must still ensure a safe environment for employees. OSHA, the federal agency responsible for monitoring safety in workplaces, has issued press releases to employers encouraging them to monitor worker safety during the busy holiday season and even warned large retailers of the increased risk that occurs when proper safety procedures are not implemented.

Safety a Major Concern during the Holiday Rush

OSHA’s concern is warranted. In the past, shoppers have been sent into such a frenzy by bargains and special events, their behavior has injured store employees. One incident involved the trampling death of a Walmart employee. In response to the sales-related incidents, OSHA issued crowd-control guidelines to retailers, asking them to have properly trained security on site, create an emergency procedure, and keep emergency exits unlocked and easily accessible.

Other suggestions included designating a specific employee to contact emergency services should an event occur, appointing someone the sole decision maker during events, and making clear to customers open times for stores, entry and exit locations, and other important information.

Some who work in retail have already participate in drills for the upcoming holiday season. Not only is crowd management important, but employers want to ensure everyone is familiar with emergency plans should there be overcrowding, violent acts, or a fire. Employees might also be asked to help with setting up barricades to keep crowds under control or be designated a special job to help with crowd management.

What You Can Do to Keep the Workplace Safe

OSHA provided a number of guidelines and tips, so if you are a retail employee this holiday season, consider looking them over. If you think the information could be helpful for your employer, feel free to share it. For more details about the OSHA guidelines.

And if you believe you or your co-workers are at risk because your employer failed to implement safety procedures or you were injured in the workplace as a result of crowds or sales frenzies, you have a right to take legal action. For more information or to speak with someone about your case, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to discuss your rights and what you can do about an unsafe workplace.

We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!

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