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How can store owners keep you safe on Black Friday?

If you have plans to get your Christmas shopping done on Black Friday, you may already know which stores in New York you plan to visit, and what time you need to be there to get the best deals. In the past, shoppers have gotten so caught up in the frenzy, there have been employee and shopper injuries, and even deaths. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has noted the safety risks, and created guidelines for business owners may use to reduce crowd-related injuries.

To prevent a stampede at the doors that puts you and other shoppers at risk of trampling, managers are encouraged to create an entrance process that may include the following:

  • Barricade lines with turns to prevent shoving and crushing
  • Numbered tickets or wristbands for orderly entry
  • Multiple entrances
  • Maps that include sale item locations, bathrooms, entrances and emergency exits

Employees should ensure that everyone preparing for entry understands the process. If potentially popular sale items are located in different areas, it may also keep the traffic going the same direction you are to a minimum.

Buildings have occupancy limits for good reason. You should not be allowed to enter a store that has already exceeded this limit.

When there are only a few of a particular sale item available, tensions between you and other shoppers may run high. Business owners should have security in place to prevent or thwart violence, and there should be a plan for alerting law enforcement or emergency medical responders. 

These are just a few of the ways that a store owner may keep everyone in the store safe. The information is general in nature, though, and does not constitute legal advice.

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