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Osha suggests changes for New York retailers this holiday season

With the holiday season now here in New York, many people are occupied with buying gifts for their loved ones. On Black Friday, in particular, many people are willing to brave the cold, long lines and massive crowds just for the chance of getting the perfect gift. What many people may not think about is the burden placed on retail workers during this time.

The large crowds, hectic schedules and rushed shoppers all increase the chances that a workplace accident will occur. These accidents can lead to workplace injuries and in some cases death. For example, in 2008, an employee at a New York Walmart was trampled to death during a Black Friday sale.

In an effort to keep retail workers around the country safe on Black Friday, and throughout the holiday season, OSHA, the governmental agency responsible for implementing and enforcing workplace safety regulations, has issued some recommendations to large retailers. In these recommendations OSHA encourages these retailers to plan ahead to keep employees safe.

According to OSHA, these plans should include hiring extra security. OSHA also recommends creating lines and barricades and clearing and unlocking all exits prior to customers arriving. Retailers should also remind employees of emergency exit procedures in advance of the sales. Finally, OSHA encourages retailers to obey the maximum capacity rules for their buildings and to not exceed that number.

By following these recommendations, retailers will hopefully keep their employers safe and avoid workplace injuries during this busy holiday season. Employees should not fear for their safety. If an employee is injured during the holiday season, workers' compensation could be available to help pay for some of the expenses incurred because of the workplace accident.

Source: ABC 4 News, "OSHA sends Black Friday safety recommendations to retailers," Kim Johnson, Nov. 16, 2012

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