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Seasonal workers have a right to a safe workplace

Workers in Pennsylvania may face unexpected dangers on the job, especially part-time seasonal workers who take an extra job during the holidays to supplement their income. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is issuing reminders to employers about their responsibilities for workplace safety and fair pay. An OSHA official emphasized that workers have a right to a safe environment on the job, including people doing escalated seasonal work including home deliveries, retail sales, shipping and packing or shelf stocking.

OSHA noted that retail stores have a responsibility to make their stores safe for workers. This includes having plans in place to manage large crowds during major, well-publicized sales to prevent trampling or other workplace injuries. For example, OSHA noted that stores can hire trained security guards and place physical barriers like barricades or rope lines to increase crowd control efficacy. In addition, OSHA provides guidelines for workplace protections in a number of industries affected by the holiday rush, including warehousing and truck driving.

Many temporary employees are less familiar with their rights on the job, but the holiday season is a major time for part-time workers to come on board. Employers and workers themselves may not be aware of workers' rights in these temporary, part-time situations. OSHA noted that the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act mandates that employers provide a safe environment. Employers' responsibilities do not end there; the Department of Labor as a whole mandates that all workers, including temporary employees, are paid appropriately for the hours that they work.

Even so, seasonal employees can face serious workplace accidents and injuries, especially when their employers fail to follow federal workplace safety rules. These injuries could lead to major medical bills or permanent disabilities. A workers' compensation lawyer may be able to help injured workers protect their rights and pursue the benefits they deserve.

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