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Holiday shopping accidents can be minimized with proper planning

With the busy holiday shopping season upon us in Wisconsin, it is time for retailers to step up security and safety measures to ensure that workers and shoppers all stay safe during the busy season. When you think about Black Friday sales, you might think of great deals that kick off the holiday season. Those good deals, along with ones that continue until the New Year, often draw large crowds. They also mean retailers need to have more merchandise. All of these factors can combine in a way that can involve injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 holds employers responsible for the safety of their workers. Proper planning, event setup and other factors all must be present to ensure people don't get hurt. In some cases, this might mean using security personnel or police presence to stop trampling, pushing and other violent actions. Using barricades or roping off areas can also help with this. OSHA also recommends that businesses try to prevent overcrowding by placing sale items in various places around the store.

It is important for employers to exercise proper crowd control. They must also ensure that all merchandise is properly secured for the event. Items placed on high shelves can fall onto customers or workers. Improper crowd control can lead to a worker being stomped or falling and hitting his or her head on the floor.

When someone is injured in a shopping accident, he or she has the right to seek compensation for those injuries. Head injuries, broken bones and other injuries shouldn't be excused just because it happened during the holiday season.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers" Nov. 26, 2014

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