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Holidays increase stress, risk for injury among retail workers

OSHA is reminding employers in Louisiana and across the U.S. that they must protect their retail workers during the holiday season. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that although retail workers may earn extra pay by working additional hours, the consequences are lost family time and lost sleep. In 2016, 24 percent of American employees said that work compromised their ability to fulfill personal and family obligations.

With long work hours comes workplace stress and inattention to what one is doing. When safe practices are overlooked, retail workers only raise their chance for sustaining injuries related to slips, falls and manual lifting. Mental health is also affected, so employers should have plans in place in the effort to reduce workers' anxiety. These plans also ensure employees that they can voice their concerns and respond accordingly when their safety is at risk.

Large crowds present one of the biggest hazards to retail workers during the holiday season, so employers should do what they can to manage these during sales events. For example, they could have trained safety personnel on site and use barricades and rope lines among other crowd-control measures.

Some employers are unfamiliar with the rules regarding the hiring of temporary and seasonal workers. OSHA reminds these business owners that such workers have the right to a safe workplace and appropriate pay.

When employees are injured through no fault of their own, they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Unlike with a personal injury claim, victims do not have to show that anyone was negligent. However, they will be waiving their right to sue their employers over the same incident in the future. With legal representation, victims will find that the filing process may proceed much more smoothly. If the claim is denied, a lawyer could help mount an appeal.

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