10 safety tips for the busy holiday season

Dec 06, 2017

holiday safetyThe hustle and bustle of the holiday season can have an unbelievable impact on the health and safety of workers in the retail and hospitality sector.

"For me, it's the stress," says WSPS Consultant Pam Patry. "It can cause mistakes and start to affect all areas of health and safety. It's important to look at ways to protect workers' physical health and safety, and pay special attention to their mental health as well," says Pam.

Trying to keep up with increased volume and demand during the holidays can cause anxiety for many employees. It can really become compounded when employees are trying to deal with a long line of impatient customers.

"They start to rush, and may not sweep up the floor, or see snow that’s melted, which leads to slips, trips, and falls, and other injuries," says Pam.

On top of increased volume and pace of work, there are longer workdays. Workers are tired, aching from doing the same job or being in the same position for days on end. They're worried about doing a good job and keeping customers happy. Help keep them safe by ensuring all of your health and safety procedures and safety tips are in place during the holiday season. Share these safety tips and best practices with employees:
  1. Uphold good housekeeping standards to prevent slips, trips and falls
    • ensure work areas stay clean;
    • keep floors are clean, dry and in good condition; and
    • ensure aisles, exits and entrances remain clear.
  2. Store inventory safely and securely
    • keep heavy items at a height between shoulders and knees; and
    • use a ladder to reach items on high shelves.
  3. Provide employees with the right tools for the job (e.g., ergonomically designed tools, lifting devices)
  4. Keep entrances, exits and walkways free of ice and snow
  5. Ensure employees take breaks
  6. Remind staff how to work safely
  7. Do a look-around every day. Has a chair or rack been moved? Is inventory blocking aisles? Every day is slightly different. If you’re hurrying and you think the floor plan is the same, there’s more opportunity for injuries to happen.
  8. Rotate jobs. If a cashier is constantly ringing through item after item, expect to see more musculoskeletal injuries. In addition, provide anti-fatigue matting, and discuss proper posture and footwear with employees.
  9. Have a violence and harassment policy and procedures in place
  10. Ask employees for input on how work can be performed more safely.

How WSPS can help

For specific hazards and solutions, check out our free downloads on a number of hazards and solutions, including good housekeeping, assessing hazards, slips, trips and falls, and more.

Visit our new online Small Business Centre, where you'll find health and safety roadmaps based on company size. Click on a size that reflects your business, and the website populates itself with resources specific to your needs.