A crowd of shoppers hunt for bargains at Macy39s on Black Friday in 2008 in New York City OSHA wants retailers to adopt crowd management plans to protect workers Photo by Yana PaskovaGetty Images

A crowd of shoppers hunt for bargains at Macy's on Black Friday in 2008 in New York City. OSHA wants retailers to adopt crowd management plans to protect workers. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

OSHA: Holiday Workers have a Right to a Safe Workplace

Companies need to focus on protecting employees during the holiday season.

Black Friday shoppers racked up about $60 billion in sales over the four-day weekend, Consumer Growth Partners estimates.

As the holiday gift giving season kicks off, OSHA is reminding employers to protect retail worker safety and pay.

“Whether employees are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, they have the right to a safe workplace,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt, in a statement. “Employers should focus on their responsibility to protect all employees during the busy holiday season.”

Employers can help keep employees out of harms' way by managing large crowds during sales events, as well as addressing other holiday-related workplace safety hazards. Trained safety personnel and barricades or rope lines as well as other crowd control measures and emergency procedures can help alleviate some issues, the agency recommended.

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

Temporary or seasonal employees hired to provide additional help have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, and to be paid for the work performed. As hiring spikes, employees not familiar with this sort of employment, 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,” said Acting Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division Bryan Jarrett, in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Labor offers a wide variety of tools to ensure that workers are paid what they have legally earned and help employers understand their responsibilities.” 

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