OSHA Holiday Safety Guidelines for Workers

Safety education plays a large role in injury prevention.

Crowd-related injuries can occur during special sales and promotional events: in 2008, a worker died at the opening of a “Black Friday” sale.

With this in mind, OSHA has prepared a set of guidelines to help employers and store owners avoid injuries during the holiday shopping season, or other events where large crowds may gather.

Crowd management planning should begin in advance of events that are likely to draw large crowds, and crowd management, pre-event setup, and emergency situation management should be part of event planning.

Typical year-round safety risks are usually increased during the holiday shopping season.

For starters, there’s more foot traffic and longer hours of operation.

Workers who are fatigued are at greater risk of injury; according to a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the relative risk of a workplace injury is more than twice as high for an employee that has been on the job for 12 hours, compared to one that has only worked 8 hours.

Important training topics for the retail environment include ladder safety, good housekeeping practices, material handling and safe lifting practices, knife / box cutter safety, emergency preparedness, hazard communication, workplace violence prevention, training on specific equipment (ex: sewing machines, steam irons, balers, dock plates, etc.), and other programs that depend on the specific exposures of the environment.