How can retail workers stay safe in holiday shopping crowds?

It is a day of the year that many retail workers abhor -- Black Friday. This is the day when people flock to stores in droves to battle it out with other shoppers to get great deals on items that can be kept or given out as gifts. This madness happens the day after Thanksgiving and has been associated with injuries and even deaths.

Retail workers need to take special precautions if they want to remain safe and go home to their family members at the end of every shift they work during the busy holiday season. It is also imperative that retail stores properly prepare for the large crowds that can sometimes turn aggressive.

What can employers do to increase employee safety?

In 2009, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) set guidelines for retailers to follow when it comes to crowd control measures. These are meant to help keep workers safe, but they will only help if employers do follow them. Having workers to keep crowds contained and ensuring that there aren't more people in the store than what are allowed are two of the ways that stores can help keep workers and shoppers safe.

Some stores also employ special ways of passing good deals on to customers. This might include a ticket system for high-value items like televisions. This could prevent people from trying to stampede to the area where the item is usually held.

What happens when there is an injury?

It is possible that workers and shoppers can suffer serious injuries. In 2008, a retail worker was trampled to death. The injuries can include almost any type, including spinal cord, brain injury or broken bones. When workers are injured, they might choose to seek benefits through the workers' compensation program.

Source: FindLaw, "Black Friday Safety," accessed Nov. 23, 2017

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