Black Friday is all about the products that shoppers across the nation can snag at incredibly low prices. Need a new big screen television? If you’re here by 5:00 a.m., you can get it 40 percent off. Need new tires? The first 50 people through the doors will receive the best BOGO deal ever.
Readers of our Bergen County, New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law Blog have probably heard these advertisements, whether in print, on air or through a commercial on television. What many people forget is that there are a lot of employees that must work these crazy hours amongst what they might describe as a group of crazed shoppers. On the biggest shopping day of the year, being a retail worker could be considered a hazardous job.
In order to prevent workplace injuries in New Jersey and across the nation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration asks that retailers prepare for more than the sales. Crowd management is an important piece in this preparation, said the department.
It was five years ago that an employee was crushed to death at a retail store when shoppers burst through the doors the day after Thanksgiving. In order to prevent this from occurring again, OSHA suggests that retailers direct lines away from the entrance to the store, keep an eye on occupancy levels, ensure that all exits remain open and that there are sufficient numbers of trained security personnel on site at all times.
It isn’t just about preparing crowd management and safety procedures. Retailers must also take care in the implementation of these measures, including determining how they are going to explain applicable procedures to the arriving public.
Employees that are scheduled to work should know that they have rights in the event that an injury does occur. Workers’ compensation can help pay for medical treatment and compensate them for lost income.
Source: KCSG, “US Labor Department Reminds Retail Stores to take Precautions on Black Friday,” Nov. 18, 2013