Holiday Safety Tips for Retail Employees

Topics: Loss Control

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us once again. Normally, retail stores across the country would have been gearing up for this extremely busy time of year, which officially kicks off after Thanksgiving on Black Friday, followed by newer shopping traditions like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

The 2020 holiday shopping season will be like no other. Changes in consumer shopping habits and the impact of the coronavirus have transformed the retail industry. Retail stores should closely follow local, state and national authorities' recommendations to keep customers and employees safe during COVID-19. In addition to COVID-19 safety, we've outlined other tips retail stores should keep in mind for safety during the holiday season and year-round. 

Holiday Safety Tips for Retail Locations

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

Retail workers are at risk for a variety of injuries, from sprains due to a slip on a wet floor or from repetitive motion tasks in the stockroom. 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, and many retail organizations hire temporary workers for the holiday season who may not understand how to stay safe on the job. Make sure workplace safety 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.

Retail Safety Tips:

  • 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. Coverages vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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