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Safety planning for holiday sales

The post-Thanksgiving unofficial shopping holiday known as Black Friday is the traditional kick-off to holiday shopping in Louisiana. As shoppers arrive for annual sales events, retail workers must stay cognizant of their own safety and the safety of their customers. Employers at retail establishments are responsible for planning sales events with safety in mind.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration created a fact sheet specifically aimed at retail establishments that are hosting Black Friday sales. In the fact sheet, OSHA points out the importance of crowd management during sales events and cites an accident that killed a retail worker during a Black Friday sale in 2008. According to OSHA, retail employers should plan ahead for crowd management, pre-event setup, staffing during the event and emergency situations.

The placement of employees is a critical part of safety planning for large crowds during sales, according to OSHA. Each staff member should have a designated location to work in, and entrances should be protected by store employees or uniformed guards. To prevent crowds from becoming unmanageable, OSHA recommends the use of various crowd control measures such as barricades and rope lines. OSHA also recommends that retail establishments limit the number of people permitted to enter a store at one time or use a ticketed entrance system.

A retail worker who is injured during large sales event may be able to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. If a customer was responsible for the incident that led to a retail worker's injury, it may be possible in some cases to file a separate personal injury claim against such party. An attorney can often provide advice to such an injured worker as to the remedies that may be available.

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