The holiday season brings significant workplace safety risks to employees within the hospitality field and within the retail field. An influx of customers can mean added dangers that leave employees vulnerable. Workers need to be aware of the added risks they face, but ultimately it is employers who are going to be responsible for making sure working conditions are safe no matter what the season brings.
How to Keep Boston Employees Safe During the Holiday Shopping Season
Some of the most dangerous days of the year for retail workers occur during the hectic shopping season. Days with big sales can draw very large crowds, which in turn can create stampede situations. Employees could become caught in a crush of customers, especially if they are trying to do crowd control. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns employers every year about the risks of major sales events during holiday seasons which cause an influx of shoppers.
To help avoid injury during these busy times, employers are encouraged to develop an effective crowd management plan. OSHA recommends that such a plan include:
- Hiring on-site security officers or police officers who have training in managing crowds.
- Establishing barricades for pedestrians that divert them away from a store’s entrance so they don’t add to crowds.
- Using rope lines when customers line up outside the door or line up to get popular products. Rope lines can help to prevent stampedes.
- Creating emergency protocols for potential dangers and training employees in how to respond in case of an emergency.
- Making sure exit doors are kept open, with nothing blocking the path to the exit.
- Managing the number of customers in the store and not permitting people to enter when the store has reached capacity.
These tips can help to prevent Boston workplace injuries that can result from large crowds, but retail and hospitality workers also face other dangers as well. Workplace violence is a big risk during the stressful holiday season, with many different types of violence commonplace, including physical fights over in-demand items and robberies by people desperate for extra holiday cash.
Because stores, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality establishments are especially busy at this time of year, employees may also feel pressured to perform their job tasks more quickly. This can lead to dangerous accidents, such as when employees working in a kitchen of a hotel or restaurant try to move too fast and end up cutting and burning themselves.
Employers need to make sure that all workers have sufficient time to do their jobs safely, even in light of expanded crowds. Often, this means that employees will need to bring in seasonal workers to fill extra demand. These seasonal workers need to be properly trained in workplace safety protocol so they are a help, rather than a hindrance, in avoiding accidents on-the-job over the holiday season.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Frith v. WSI – Proving Worsening Condition Is Related to Work Injury, May 27, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog