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End-of-year retail surge brings more temporary workers, injuries

An annual happening across the United States at just about this time every year is the increased hiring of temporary and so-called “seasonal” workers. Those employees help employers in retail and manufacturing industries deal with increased production and sales-related demands that persist through the winter holiday season.

According to an article on end-of-year workplace hiring, this annual phenomenon is expected to be particularly robust this year, with hiring gains in the retail industry alone projected “to significantly outpace 2013.”

That would be truly impressive, given that more than 786,000 workers were reportedly hired by retail businesses during the October-December time frame last year.

That spells both opportunity and potential trouble for both employers and their new workers in New York and nationally. On the one hand, more hands on deck means more money rolling in for businesses and more paychecks for workers. On the other hand, the possibility of workplace injuries being suffered by temporary employees is always comparatively high, with that downside obviously being especially troublesome during the hyper-busy holiday season.

The sources of on-the-job injuries are many and diverse, and they can multiply in winter months. During the extended holiday buying spree, high traffic volume is a given at shopping malls and other retail outlets, increasing the chances for motorist-worker collisions. Ice and snow can make for dangerous conditions at the workplace, increasing the chances of slips and falls. Workers routinely suffer back and hip injuries from repetitive lifting, twisting and turning activities. Workplace fire hazards, too, are a commonplace.

New York employers need to pay due heed to those possibilities and take all reasonable precautions to protect their workers, regardless whether those employees are full-time or seasonal workers.

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