What Are an Employer’s Duties on Black Friday?

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Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, an employer has a duty to protect their employees from recognized hazards that could cause serious injuries or death. Some employer responsibilities include providing employees with proper safety training for various situations, actively evaluating workplace conditions and establishing health and safety procedures.

These duties should be enhanced on Black Friday when large crowds are expected. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), nearly 77 million Americans went shopping on Black Friday in 2017.

Since an employee was trampled to death during a Black Friday sale in 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released annual Black Friday guidelines for retailers to follow for crowd management. They are meant to reduce the risk of injuries to employees and shoppers.

An employer may adopt their own crowd control plan, but according to OSHA, the program should include a plan for pre-event setup, event management and emergency management. Precautions should include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional staff and trained security personnel or police officers on-site in designated locations with assigned duties
  • Emergency procedures in place for various emergency situations
  • Barricades or rope lines for shoppers arriving at the store before it opens
  • Staff and security personnel outside to direct crowds and remind shoppers of safe entry guidelines
  • Visible signs for entrance and exit locations as well as keeping the locations unlocked and clear of obstruction
  • Keeping the store within its occupancy requirements

In addition to the points listed above, further guidelines to keep employees safe should include:

  • Proper training and practice for crowd management and emergency management
  • Communication devices for staff and personnel to contact management or emergency services if needed
  • A separate entrance and exit for staff members

For a full list of OSHA’s crowd management guidelines, you can read them here.

Need an Austin Workers Compensation Attorney?

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, we recommend that you talk to an experienced workers compensation attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal options under Texas workers compensation laws. You may have a viable claim to recover workers compensation and further monetary damages. Call the Law Offices of Aaron Allison at (512) 474-8346 to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out our online form for a free case review.

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