Retail Safety Tips for the Holidays

Topics: Loss Control

It might seem hard to believe, but the holiday shopping season is officially upon us. Across the country, retail stores are gearing up for this extremely busy time of year. For the 2018 holiday season, some forecasters say there will be a 5 to 5.6 percent increase in sales over the 2017 shopping season, including a projected 17 to 22 percent increase in e-commerce sales. Price Waterhouse Cooper predicts that consumers will spend over $1,250 during the holiday season, while the National Retail Federation is a bit more conservative, saying consumers will spend right around $1,000 this holiday season, an increase of 4.1 percent over 2017.

No matter the exact number, it is looking to be a very busy holiday season for retailers. With the predicted increase in sales, retail teams at brick-and-mortar locations must start preparing their stores now for additional traffic. Part of that preparation is to make sure the store is safe for both employees and customers.

Holiday Safety Tips for Retail Locations


Increased in-store traffic means more possibilities for individuals getting injured as they browse items or stock shelves during the busy holiday season. Stores should minimize any potential hazards to help reduce the risks for costly injuries, illnesses and potential losses.

Employees should be trained on keeping the store floor as clear as possible as boxes, merchandise and ladders can become hazards. New and inexperienced employees are at highest risk of injury. Make sure training programs are rigorous and fully indoctrinate all new workers. Assign a qualified, experienced mentor to each new hire so they can be shown the right way to do things and they have a person they can readily go to if they have questions or face a task or hazard they are unsure about.

Other tips to help keep a store safe this holiday season include:
  • Don’t block fire extinguishers: Make sure there is a clear path to fire extinguishers. Also, boxes or decorations should not block ceiling sprinklers.
  • Keep emergency exits clear: Emergency exits must always be clear of boxes, furniture or other stored items.
  • Indicate when floors are wet: Use wet floor signs to help prevent slips and falls on a slick floor. Make sure the hazard is properly cleaned up per spill clean-up policies. This is especially important during snowy months when customers are tracking snow into the store.
  • Use ladders properly: Falls from portable ladders are a major source of injury in the workplace. In fact, according to the American Ladder Institute, over 300 people die each year in ladder-related accidents, while thousands of others suffer disabling injuries. Train your staff on how to use ladders in the right way, from carrying them throughout the store, placing them in clear spaces, correct climbing tips and the correct storage procedure.
  • Follow lifting safety procedures: Back injuries can occur when you do not lift boxes and heavy items in the correct way. Employees should learn how to properly lift heavy objects to help avoid injuries and back strain, which could result in a workers’ compensation claim. Establish weight and size limits for merchandise that trigger a mandatory two-person lift. Make sure carts and dollies are used to their potential.
  • Set merchandise racks correctly: Merchandise racks should be spaced according to federal and state rules. Also, do not leave empty merchandise stands on the sales floor where customers can easily trip or walk into them causing injury.
  • Prevent employee theft: Employee theft increases during the holiday season. Retails stores can help deter employee theft by having the proper onboarding procedures, performing background checks on employees, conducting loss prevention training, have working security cameras and enforcing company loss prevention protocols.

Outdoors Safety Tips for Retail


Just as the inside of a store needs to be safe for employees and customers, the outside of the store needs to be prepared and ready for high traffic and the possibility of inclement winter weather. Parking lots, entryways, sidewalks and walkways must be clear of snow and ice at all times, especially during business hours. Additionally, remember that snow piles, while also dangerous, can prevent customers from coming into your store. Businesses should have de-icing products like salt on hand to remove ice or snow. Clearing snow and ice outside will help prevent some of the slips and falls that lead to injuries for both your customers and your valued employees.

Loss Control and Commercial Property Protection at AmTrust

Safety, especially during the hectic holiday shopping season, starts with knowledge. Having the right safety resources and commercial property protection are keys to a successful holiday season. AmTrust’s Loss Control Department can give you the individual attention you deserve, identifying specific hazards and offering solutions that fit your operation. We are dedicated to providing the right recommendations and resources necessary to create an effective loss prevention program for your store. Please contact us to learn more.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.
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