Keeping retail workers safe during the holidays

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding retail employers throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country to be proactive about keeping workers safe during the holidays. The reason for the reminder is because of the flood of customers that can create added stress for both permanent and seasonal employees who routinely stock, pack, deliver and sell various products. This is also the time of year when workers tend to put in extra time on the clock to accommodate extended store hours and increased customer traffic.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes that employees don’t always benefit from extra holiday pay. However, workers sacrifice sleep and time with their families to meet extra demands during the holidays. Such sacrifices could increase workplace stress or fatigue. A lapse in paying attention to safe working conditions during the holidays may also boost instances of worker’s compensation claims due to slips, falls, back pain and other common injuries associated with retail work.

NIOSH stresses the need for employers to have plans in place to reduce stress and anxiety for employees during the holiday rush. This extends to efforts to address safety risks. For example, barricades or rope lines may help with crowd management issues, and quickly taking care of wet floors from customers tracking in water from rain or snow could reduce slip-and-fall risks. Temporary or seasonal employees also have the right to expect a safe workplace and be fairly compensated for their work.

In some instances, workplace injuries may occur because workers did not receive proper training or supervision. These employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, some claims are denied for unfair reasons. If this is the case, an attorney could help a worker with the filing process.

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