Holiday Safety: Seasonal and Temporary Workers

| Featured News, OSHA, USF Safety Florida

Written by: Katlyn Thomas, USF SafetyFlorida Safety & Health Consultant

As the holiday season quickly approaches employers should focus on their responsibility to protect all employees, to include full time, part-time and temporary employees during the busy holiday season. Whether employees are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, temporary or seasonal employees hired to provide additional help have the right to a safe workplace.

During this time of year, hiring seasonal workers increases and more employees are in unversed job settings. With increased merchandise sales, employees are expected to meet high demands. It is important to focus on employees who may not be as familiar with their new scope of work. Additionally, employers need to understand the different rules that involve seasonal/temporary workers.

Industries such as retail employers should take precautions to keep workers safe while managing large crowds during sales events. Shopping increases during this time of year dramatically which directly impacts worker safety. It is important to address potential workplace safety hazards by implementing safety guidelines, such as using trained security personnel and barricades or rope lines for pedestrians, and implementing crowd control measures and emergency procedures.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2018” the retail trade was the only private industry sector where the TRC (Total Recordable Cases) rate increased in 2018, rising from 3.3 cases to 3.5 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. This was the first increase in the TRC rate in retail trade since the series began in 2003. Retail trade accounted for 14 percent of all injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2018.

OSHA offers many resources that provide information and guidance for protecting those employed in various aspects of the retail industry, including warehousing, tractor trailer drivers, forklift safety, and crowd management. Please visit https://www.osha.gov/holidaysafety.html and https://www.osha.gov/temp_workers/ for additional information.

I personally urge you to be prepared and take special care to ensure your employees are trained and ready for the fast approaching holiday season. Communication is vital to everyone’s safety and the success of your business.