Black Friday — holiday season — a dangerous time for North Carolina work accidents

Even as crazy Black Friday deals are being announced ($3 appliances at Target) by retailers to lure shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration is warning retailers that they have a duty to protect customers and employees from injury.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers know the seasonal jobs being filled this holiday are a blessing for many families. And retailers count on the next 6 weeks for up to half their profits. But serious accidents are frequently reported when retailers intentionally attempt to create a mob mentality. Employers have an obligation to keep new and veteran employees safe from the undue risk of a North Carolina work accident caused by large crowds.
“Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years,” said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “Many of these incidents can be prevented by adopting a crowd management plan, and this fact sheet provides retail employers with guidelines for avoiding injuries during the holiday shopping season.”

IN 2008, an employee was trampled to death in a mob of shoppers on Black Friday. The store was not using OSHA’s best-practices, which include:

-Make sure all employees know when the doors are about to open.

-Staff entrances with uniform guards or other authority personnel.

-Use a public address system to manage crowds and/or communicate problems.

-Position personnel to the side of entrances, not in a crowd’s path.

-Provide crowd control measures at all entrances. Use more than one entrance whenever possible.

-Do not allow more people in the store than permitted by maximum occupancy.

-Provide a safe entrance for people with disabilities.

OSHA has issued a warning to the CEOs of 14 of the nation’s largest retailers, reminding them that they are responsible for the safety of employees during the upcoming holiday season.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or are dealing with a worker’s compensation or disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Serving all of North and South Carolina, including Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Shelby and Statesville.

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