Black Friday has long been a day of retail madness, with shoppers lining up for hours to be the first in the door to score heavy discounts on some of the hottest gifts of the season. Unfortunately, with all the focus on the holiday hype, there is often too little attention paid to the workers who are left struggling to keep order amid eager and sometimes angry crowds.
With large crowds and often limited security, the risk of work-related accidents increases in Rock Hill and throughout the Carolinas during the Black Friday holiday shopping events.
Work-related accidents on Black Friday can have far reaching consequences, resulting in serious injuries, ending careers and even causing death in certain tragic cases. Our Rock Hill workers compensation lawyers are concerned about the risk that this presents to employees who are asked to work on these shopping days and urges employers to take action to protect their staff.
Black Friday Dangers
The dangers of Black Friday have become well-known for both shoppers and workers. In 2008, for example, a worker was trampled to death during a sales event when customers stormed the doors. Other incidents at stores have included angry customers getting into physical brawls, customers using pepper spray to try to get the advantage over fellow shoppers and even customers discharging weapons in stores or in Black Friday sales lines.
Unfortunately with many stores becoming even more aggressive in their Black Friday marketing during these tough economic times, the risk of workplace injury may be even greater to workers.
The Black Friday madness will also be going on for longer this year. The North Carolina Consumers Council, Inc. reports that many major retailers have now decided to begin their sales events on Thanksgiving instead of waiting until the day after the holiday. A longer period of aggressive shopping means a longer period of time for something to go wrong and for workers to be caught in the middle and injured.
Preventing Workplace Accidents on Black Friday
Employers have an obligation to make sure that employees are reasonably safe when they come to work, and this means taking extra precautions during dangerous shopping events this Thanksgiving season. A November news release from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides suggestions for employers to create a crowd management plan. Some of these suggestions include:
- Having trained security on-site.
- Using barricades or rope lines and establishing these barriers in an area that leaves space before the store entrance.
- Putting crowd control measures in place in advance of customers arriving at the store.
- Having a contingency plan in place in case of emergency.
- Educating the public on the store rules including the store’s entry and exit policies.
- Not permitting customers into the store once the maximum occupancy level has been reached.
- Not permitting exit doors to be blocked or locked.
By following these and other security procedures, stores can help to keep both customers and employees safe. Preventing workplace accidents and stopping workplace injuries should always be a top priority, and is a far more important goal even than encouraging retail sales.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an on-the-job accident, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.
U.S. Department of Labor News Release, November 15, 2012
Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2012.