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The challenges facing retail workers over the holidays

With the holiday shopping season come additional work hours and extra pay for retail workers in Missouri. While workers may benefit financially on the one hand, they could suffer from loss of sleep and lost family time on the other. In 2016, 24 percent of U.S. employees said that work interfered with personal and family obligations. This is just one of a few challenges pointed out by OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

OSHA is reminding employers to be mindful of retail workers' safety. Overworked, fatigued employees will become stressed and inattentive. If they ignore safe practices while stocking shelves, packing boxes and delivering products, they may injure themselves in a slip-and-fall accident or suffer back pain through excessive manual lifting.

NIOSH emphasizes how work stress can make employees anxious. Employers can relieve this anxiety by having plans in place that support employees and make them feel empowered to respond to any hazardous situations. Workers must also be protected during sales events when large crowds develop. Employers can have trained safety personnel to implement crowd control measures and set up rope lines and barricades where necessary.

Lastly, temporary and seasonal workers have the same right to a safe workplace as full-time employees. OSHA has expressed concern that many employers are unfamiliar with the rules surrounding temporary and seasonal work.

The holiday season could lead to retail workers being injured. If there is no clear case of negligence, victims may still be eligible for benefits under workers' compensation law. These benefits help cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and, if applicable, short- or long-term disability leave. Once they achieve maximum medical improvement, victims may want to have a lawyer evaluate their case, build it up and mount an appeal if payment is denied.

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