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How employees can stay safe during the holiday season

North Carolina businesses should be aware that OSHA is reminding employers to take extra steps this holiday season to protect worker safety and pay. OSHA is especially concerned about large crowds during sales events and unpredictable scheduling.

Retail employers need to be especially cautious around the holiday season to keep their employees safe. For example, a sales event that draws a large crowd can result in physical injuries if barricades and rope lines are not used to keep pedestrians in controlled areas. Crowd control measures, such as employees whose only job is to keep customers calm and organized, are also important. For some employers, it may be necessary to hire trained security personnel. In the event of an out-of-control crowd, employees may be pushed or even trampled. Injured employees should always report injury incidents to their employers so that they have a record of what happened in case they need to seek workers’ compensation.

OSHA would also like to remind employers to be aware of pay laws. Employees who are not familiar with holiday pay law may not realize that they are being taken advantage of. For example, employees must be properly compensated for their time. This includes extra pay for overtime hours. Some employers attempt to cut corners by paying hourly employees the same rate for overtime, but this is not legal. Employees should also remember that they have the right to a healthy, safe workplace, even during the stressful holiday season. Temporary or seasonal workers should take extra caution as they are among the most likely to be taken advantage of.

In the event of a workplace injury as a result of an out-of-control crowd, an attorney may could help the victim seek workers’ compensation. Compensation may cover lost wages, medical expenses and other damages. In the event of a severe injury, compensation may also include physical therapy and transportation to and from follow-up appointments.

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