OSHA Urges Employers to Prioritize Safety During Busy Holiday Season

 A crowd of shoppers on Black Friday.  Courtesy: VOA News

A crowd of shoppers on Black Friday. Courtesy: VOA News

Holiday shopping season in the US began with a bang on November 23rd, known as Black Friday. On this infamous “holiday” which occurs yearly the day after Thanksgiving, most retailers around the country offer special deals and major storewide discounts. Brick and mortar stores and even online outlets are often overwhelmed by the hordes of customers seeking to save on products for themselves and gifts for their friends and family. Consumer Growth Partners estimates US consumers spent around $60 billion over the weekend.

Increased demand during the holiday season combined with major sales often leave retail, warehouse, and delivery workers feeling rushed and overworked. Under such stressful conditions safety mindfulness can fall to the wayside, which is exactly what Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt wants employers to avoid. “Whether employees are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, they have the right to a safe workplace,” she said in a statement, “Employers should focus on their responsibility to protect all employees during the busy holiday season.”

This includes temporary and seasonal workers, some of who do not receive adequate safety training before starting work under unusually busy conditions. OSHA encourages employers to provide retail employees with special training on crowd management, and to make use of rope lines, barricades, and trained safety personnel to ensure worker and customer safety during the busy holiday season. OSHA provides holiday workplace safety guidance for all aspects of the retail industry on a special page on their website.

Read more here.


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