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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 9:30 pm

Employers urged to be conscious of employee safety during holidays

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

The federal agency tasked with overseeing the safety and rights of workers says the busy holiday shopping season is no time to be lax.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division on Tuesday issued a reminder for employers to be conscious of work conditions and pay.

“Whether employees are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, they have the right to a safe workplace,” Loren Sweatt, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “Employers should focus on their responsibility to protect all employees during the busy holiday season.”

Retail employers should take precautions to keep workers safe while managing large crowds during sales events. Retailers are also encouraged to address potential workplace safety hazards by following safety guidelines, such as using trained security personnel and barricades or rope lines for pedestrians, and implementing crowd control measures and emergency procedures.

The reminder comes as retailers prepare for a crush of shoppers with early holiday shopping promotions well under way. 

OSHA provides information and guidance for protecting people employed in various aspects of the retail industry, including warehousing, tractor trailer drivers, forklift safety, and crowd management.

As hiring spikes, employees who are inexperienced in retail and employers unaccustomed to hiring part-time and/or seasonal employees may not be fully aware of the rules that surround such work.

“Holiday season hiring brings great opportunity for both the American workforce and job creators,” Bryan Jarrett, acting administrator for OSHA's Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement.