Keeping our members safe on the job is a top priority and the International works closely with locals to strengthen protections and prevent workplace violence. In the wake of the recent attacks like the mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, the International’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office has updated guidelines to help locals and employers keep our members in the retail sector safe from harm.
One of the most serious threats to retail workers is assault and the threat of violence on the job. Workplace violence can include any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite and ranges from swearing or shouting and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.
Our union has made addressing violence in the workplace a priority by conducting programs for high-risk members and holding workshops for leadership and staff. The OSH Office also has educational materials to help locals and employers with workplace violence prevention programs, and created the following walk-around check list to help our members troubleshoot items that need to be in place to make their stores safer.
The check list ensures that:
• Workers have access to a telephone with an outside line.
• Emergency telephone numbers are posted near the phone (for police, fire department, hospitals/ambulance).
• The entrance to the building is easily seen from the street and clear of heavy shrub growth.
• The lighting outside the store, in the parking lot and near the entrance is bright.
• All indoor lights are bright and working properly.
• Views through the windows, both inside and outside, are clear of advertising signs or other things that are difficult to see through.
• The cash register is in plain view of customers and passing cars.
• There are personal or silent alarms installed.
• There is a working drop safe or time access safe to minimize the amount of cash on hand.
• Security cameras and mirrors are placed to monitor areas vulnerable to robbers.
• Employees are protected by bullet-resistant enclosures (when the store is located in a high crime area).
• There are height markers on the doors to help witnesses provide more complete descriptions of assailants.
The OSH Office is available to come to locals to conduct safety and health trainings. If your local is interested in scheduling a safety and health training session, contact Robyn Robbins, director of the OSH Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fernando Tapia, OSH coordinator at email@example.com. You can also sign up for safety and health training sessions here.