The lull after, and before the Christmas storm

25 November, 2013
Pat Perry

Earlier this week I walked into a store to be greeted with Christmas Carols, I have to say there's a time and a place for Christmas about Christmas!?

Now I know I sound a little 'bah! Humbug!' but in my mind there's a time and a place for everything. So with this in mind and keeping the Christmas theme, the festive music should be a signal for retailers to be taking the impending Christmas period seriously by making sure staff are ready for the different dynamic that Christmas brings.

For most people in the retail and leisure sectors, the festive period is a hugely important trading period and for some this year it will be make-or-break. So my message is a clear one - get your house in order now.

It's time, if they haven't already, to grasp the nettle, harness the energy of employees and set about getting plans in place for Christmas trading. From our point of view, as health and safety consultants, Christmas means looking at operational detail and ensuring the safety of staff and customers during a period of increased production, traffic and hopefully, trade. So, what are some of the thoughts that should be occupying your mind when looking at Christmas trading and H&S, here's a few:

  • Staff training. Now's a great time for refresher training. Remind staff of their responsibilities, to themselves, colleagues and customers.


  • Lifting - increased business is likely to mean an increase in the lifting of products, so cover the basics of materials handling.


  • Slips and trips - more stock, decorations, electric cables leading to tree lights, they all represent a risk.


  • More customers means that good crowd control becomes even more important - are fire exits clearly marked? Are all staff aware of evacuation procedures?


  • Adverse weather - icy pavements / retail entrances, wet floors, snow brought in-store from boots, all present a danger and risk to employees and consumers.


These are just a few examples of issues you need to be thinking about, there are of course many more. In summary, take the opportunity now to look at the trading conditions you'll face in the festive period and don't be caught out!

For more information on this or other matters relating to health and safety in the workplace Contact Us.

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