My colleague, Marc Herman, returns today with a holiday-themed post filled with — workplace safety issues? Read on.

Holiday season shopping . . . the home to nostalgic tunes, perpetual lines, frenzied bargain hunters, overflowing parking lots, and OSHA.

For those who can’t remember your government acronyms, it’s the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Were you thinking, perhaps, of Santa instead?

As retailers get in full swing shopping extravaganza mode, OSHA ––a federal agency charged with regulating the health and safety of employees in the workplace–– has been issuing press releases noting that they are keeping a close eye on the wellbeing of retail employees this holiday season.

In a recent one, OSHA forewarned large retailers of the acute dangers faced by retail employees this holiday shopping season “if the proper safety procedures are ignored.”

(For those who enjoy the Internet’s dark side, you can also check out the “Black Friday Death Count.”)

The warning comes six years after a Walmart employee was tragically trampled to death amidst a mob-like rush by frantic, bargain-hungry, shoppers on Black Friday; receiving a citation for “inadequate crowd management,” Walmart Stores, Inc. received a $7,000 fine from OSHA.

Emphasizing the risks posed by ruthless shoppers, OSHA has provided major retailers with “Crowd Management Safety Guidelines.”

Those guidelines implore retailers to adopt measures such as: providing trained security personnel, having emergency procedures in place, and ensuring that emergency exits remain unlocked and accessible––undoubtedly pragmatic advice.

Ultimately, though, perhaps this will be a relic of a by gone era.  The crowds at Black Friday this year seemed the thinnest in years. 

It seems that perhaps Santa is doing more of his shopping on the internet from the warm confines of the North Pole.