The busiest shopping season of the year is upon us, and many industries are hiring extra staff to handle the higher demand. With thousands of new employees being thrown directly into a high-stress atmosphere and stores that are more crowded than usual, mistakes happen. Some of these mistakes can even leave employees injured on the job. This is the season when we must be extra vigilant about how we handle the causes and results of workplace injuries.
Flooding the Market
Reuters reported this fall on Target’s announced plans for the holiday shopping season, giving some insight into the scale of workplace growth during this time. Target decided this year to hire an additional 100,000 people in stores across the nation, a 43% increase from last year. This is in addition to an expected 4,500 people to be hired at distribution and fulfillment centers owned by Target, which provide merchandise to the retail stores. Experts at the time anticipated that this would be the largest jump in hiring in the retail industry, but seasonal employment would still be common. Seasonal help would be especially useful with new tasks to handle, such as shipping and pickup from stores.
Leading Workplace Injuries
In examining data from Liberty Mutual, Captive.com provided the ten most common nonfatal workplace injuries that cause 6 or more missed days from work. These include overexertion from practices like lifting and pushing, falls on the same or onto lower levels, repetitive motion, slips without a fall, and being struck by or caught in equipment. All of the items on the list can happen in retail environments where much of the seasonal changes are happening, and can generally be avoided with care and effort; however, increasing stress in the workplace and filling the environment with more customers and possibly untrained employees presents additional challenges for avoiding accidents.
Many companies do very well at this during the holiday shopping season. The Bureau of Labor Statistics marks December as the lowest reported workplace injury month of the year, but they also acknowledge the possibility of unreported injuries, or injuries reported late, which would shift these numbers.
It is the responsibility of employers to take precautions during the holiday season to ensure that customers and employees, whether permanent or seasonal, are adequately protected. It is important that retailers be held accountable for the way they handle employee safety, especially during periods when they are taking on responsibility for more employees. If you or a loved one suffers a workplace injury this holiday season, even if they are only working seasonally, do not let it go unreported. Let us help you get the care and justice you deserve.