As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) are reminding employers to protect 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. “Employers should focus on their responsibility to protect all employees during the busy holiday season.”
Retail employers should take precautions to keep workers safe while managing large crowds during sales events. Retailers are encouraged to address potential workplace safety hazards by following safety guidelines such as using trained security personnel and barricades or rope lines for pedestrians, and implementing crowd control measures and emergency procedures. 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. “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.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires most workers to be paid at least the federal minimum wage, and overtime premium pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.