It’s the holiday season. And while holiday shopping is fun for most of us, it can be a nightmare for retail store employees. Not only do these workers have to deal with grumpy customers who are irate and disappointed over not getting the last of the hot items, they also have to watch out for crowd-related work injuries.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, crowd-related work injuries occur during special sales and promotional events. These injuries can be serious, and even fatalities have occurred.
Your employer must protect you.
Employers are responsible for providing their workers with safe and healthy workplaces. OSHA encourages employers to implement strict practices and systems to lessen and eliminate work-related hazards, such as those caused by large crowds at major retail events.
Your employer should take key steps to carry out this responsibility. For example, your employer needs to invest substantial time in planning the event. If your employer is expecting a large crowd, additional staff should be hired and police officers or other crowd managers should be on the premises. Workers should be trained in advance on crowd management procedures. And, an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers workers might face (such as overcrowding, crowd crushing, and violent acts) should be developed.
Before the event, your employer must implement safety measures to keep employees safe. For example, your employer should:
- Set up barricades or rope lines that allow workers to divide crowds into smaller groups for controlling the entrance into the store.
- Make sure that the lines will snake so that customers pushing from the rear of the line will not crush other customers or workers.
- Make sure that workers who will be outside with the customers in line have a way to communicate with personnel inside the store and emergency responders.
- Place “hot” items in different parts of the store to prevent overcrowding in one place.
- Move shopping carts and other potential obstacles inside the store and away from the entrance.
Once the store opens, your employer should make sure that crowd control policies and procedures are strictly followed. If the store reaches maximum occupancy, your employer should stop additional customers from entering until the occupancy level drops.
Our Houston work accident attorneys represent employees in on-the-job accidents and injuries.
Our Houston work injury attorneys help victims of job site accidents. If you’ve been injured on the job, call VB Attorneys, at 877-724-7800, or fill out an online form, to ask for a free case evaluation.