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OSHA reminds retailers to plan for crowd control on Black Friday

While many Black Friday shoppers in Minnesota may have been lucky to leave the stores without a scratch, the employees of retail stores are not always so lucky. In 2008, an employee was trampled to death as shoppers rushed to get into the store. This year, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reminded retailers to take certain precautions to keep their employees safe.

According to OSHA, one way to keep everyone safe during the busy shopping season is to adopt a crowd managing system. OSHA sent out safety guidelines to major retailers, which included having police officers or properly trained security staff members on-site. In addition, they recommended that retailers ensure that the exit doors were not blocked and that they start the line for the entrance to the building away from the actual entrance doors. Finally, retailers were reminded not to let additional customers into the store if the building was at maximum capacity.

In the rush to shop, many employees are not adequately trained to handle the large amount of consumers that enter the store at once. This poor planning and inadequate training can cause an employee to become severely injured. For example, employees can be trampled or shoved and may suffer neck and back injuries while attempting to control the crowd.

Those who are injured on the job may be eligible to receive compensation for their work injury. However, in cases where the employee suffers injuries that resulted from poor crowd control, the insurance company may deny a workers' compensation claim. Even if the claim has already been denied, an attorney may be able to help their client by showing the full extent of the injuries and negotiating with the insurance company. In the event that the claim is still denied, the attorney could provide a strong representation for their client in court.

Source: KCSG, "US Labor Department reminds retail stores to take precautions on black friday", November 18, 2013

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