The holiday season is already upon us. Over the past decade, we have seen a significant shift in the number of consumers who prioritize shopping for Christmas gifts. And while many consumers take to the internet to purchase gifts, there are still many who head out to local malls and businesses to relish the holiday shopping experience. For retail workers, the holiday season is often stressful. Angry customers tend to lose respect for the very people who are helping to ensure the shelves are stocked. The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has teamed up with the Wage and Hour Division to make employers more aware of tips they can follow to ensure their workers stay safe this holiday season. They highlight safety training and focus on employee pay.
Employees are often pushed to the limits during the holiday season to keep up with the ever-increasing demands from customers. Before a shelf becomes empty, employees are encouraged to battle among the madness to ensure the shelf is stocked again and again. Whether employees are delivering products, running the cash register, or stocking shelves, it is the employers’ responsibility to make sure the workers are provided with a safe working environment.
There are many precautions that retail employers can take to ensure their workers’ safety is prioritized. These precautions should particularly be focused on before and during sales events, such as when an employer is hosting a limited-time 50% off sale. There are also numerous safety guidelines that must be followed to address an array of workplace safety hazards. For large businesses, hiring trained security personnel during the holiday season is highly recommended, especially during large sales events. It’s also advised to create and follow a blueprint that outlines where rope lines can be used to direct customer traffic throughout a store. Crowd measure tactics should also be enforced.
It is imperative to enforce OSHA-approved tools and services. There are many resources which can give you details on how to protect employees and customers both during the high-traffic holiday season. There are resources available targeted toward employees working in a variety of settings, including warehouses, retail stores, and more. You’ll also find resources targeting forklift safety and the management of large crowds.
In addition to workplace safety, employee pay should be prioritized during the holiday season. Because this time of year is often stressful for holiday workers, it is usually best to increase their pay for the work they provide. Both full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers deserve to be paid according to the work they provide. It’s also important to keep a close eye on employee hours. Because customer traffic is often high, and stores stay open later, workers are often tasked with working many overtime hours. While overtime is a great way for employees to make extra money, it should be kept to a minimum to ensure everyone’s safety. Therefore, it’s so important to hire seasonal workers who can step in to keep overtime hours at a minimum.
What are you doing to ensure your workers are safe and appropriately paid during the holiday season? Contact OSHA for access to valuable resources, like safety training by IMPROV® Learning. The goal is to create a safety culture both during the holiday season and all year long.