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Employers required to protect workers during holidays

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released statements to remind employers of their duties to protect workers in Missouri and across the U.S. ahead of the holiday season. Employees have the right to a safe workplace whether they are packing boxes, selling merchandise, stocking shelves or delivering products. The holiday season can be especially hectic for retail workers, and retail employers should take steps to make sure workers are safe during sales that draw large crowds.

It's common practice for retailers to take on seasonal or temporary employees to help during the busy times of the year, and these employees have the right to a healthy and safe place to work. OSHA encourages retail sellers to prepare for potential workplace hazards by hiring or training security officers and setting up ropes or barricades to direct the movements of pedestrians. Emergency procedures and crowd control measures are also encouraged. OSHA provides information and guidance resources for retailers that cover different positions in the industry such as truck driving, forklift operation, crowd management and warehousing.

Hiring activity increases at different times of the year with the holiday season being among the busiest. When hiring is on the rise, many new employees may not be familiar with their rights in the workplace. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide their employees a safe place to work.

Employees who have suffered injuries on the job may be able to recover via the workers' compensation system. An injured employee is not required to demonstrate negligence or other wrongdoing on the part of the employer in order to recover. An attorney who has experience handling workers' comp cases might be able to help injured employees by putting together and submitting a claim or by working with officials to secure compensation for the client.

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