DOL Encourages Worker Safety as Holidays Approach

The winter holidays can present a unique set of safety challenges.

December 4, 2023

This winter holiday season, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is encouraging employers and employees to continue to be mindful of workplace safety and health.

As an important reminder of staying vigilant during holidays, the DOL pointed to the November death of a 25-year-old worker in Akron, Ohio, who suffered fatal electrical shock injuries when the fiberglass extension pole he was using to hang holiday lights on a tree made contact with a high-voltage power line.

The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a page on its website with resources to help keep workers safe as they carry out an array of holiday-related jobs, such as working with lighted decorations, dealing with an increased amount of boxes, and packing orders in warehouses. It also features a video suggesting the following nine tips on how to protect workers this holiday season and beyond:

  1. Train workers on safe work practices in a language they speak and understand.
  2. Provide hands-on training for young and new workers on how to properly use equipment.
  3. Ensure that delivery and warehouse workers wear bright, visible clothing.
  4. Instruct workers how to properly stack materials and to stand clear when doors are opened for unloading.
  5. Create a detailed, flexible staffing plan to help reduce workplace stress.
  6. Prepare an emergency plan with the expectation of larger crowds.
  7. Make sure that entrance and exit signs are clearly visible.
  8. Encourage workers to report any safety or health concerns.
  9. Remember that seasonal workers have the same rights as full-time staff.

“The holiday season is a time for celebration and reflection for many, but they are also occasions when employees face safety hazards found atop ladders or roofs putting decorations in place, in busy warehouses and retail stores meeting heightened customer demands, and working outdoors as winter approaches,” explained Bill Donovan, OSHA regional administrator in Chicago. “To make the holidays happy for all, employers must stress workplace safety and health and train employees to prevent serious and fatal injuries.”

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