Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it is a dangerous day for workers who are in a retail store environment. Workers are often asked to help manage crowd control, which they may not have a lot of training to do. Workers may also be under pressure from aggressive customers trying to get the products that they lined up to purchase.
A Boston workers’ compensation lawyer knows it is an employer’s job to make a workplace safe for employees. This means that retail store employers need to be aware of the risks Black Friday presents to workers. They must take action to prevent injuries from occurring.
Protecting Retail Workers on Black Friday
The Hill reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has urged retailers throughout the country to “take precautions on Black Friday to protect workers from being trampled by customers.”
In 2008, one worker was trampled to death as customers rushed through the door of the store. Black Friday has become increasingly dangerous both for customers and workers as stores open earlier, crowds line up days or even weeks in advance and door busters are made ever more attractive.
Stores need to have a “crowd management plan,” according to OSHA. This plan should include:
- Proper training for workers on crowd control and event management. There should also be a sufficient number of workers on staff and working on Black Friday, with the appropriate number based on the size of the expected crowd.
- On-site security guards. Store employees not trained in managing mobs of people should not be expected to do so. Professional security companies with sufficient experience with crowd control should be brought in to the store, especially for major retailers who will expect to have long lines when opening.
- Barricades outside the store. The barricades should be set up for customers waiting to enter in order to ensure they do not all rush the doors at once when the doors are first opened by an employee.
- Information on safely entering the store. Customers who are waiting should be provided with details about where and how to safely get into the store and find the items that they are looking for.
- Limits on how many customers may enter. Only a manageable number of customers should be permitted entry into the store at one time in order to reduce the risk of a mob of people rushing in and trampling workers or each other.
- An emergency plan in case something goes wrong. Problems with crowd control and safety should be expected and employers should know in advance what to do. Workers should be trained on the emergency plan in case a problem develops.
By following these important guidelines, employers can hopefully help to ensure those workers taking care of customers on Black Friday will not experience a workplace injury or death.
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
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