What are some hazards of Holiday Shopping in this Area?
Icy sidewalks, slippery floors, overstacked products, and crowds...
Although the Morgantown, WV area and adjacent regions of Marion, Preston, and Taylor Counties are not heavily populated areas as compared to Pittsburgh, the mixture of customer expectations and limited quantities produce the same risks of injuries that we hear about in large cities.
In order to get a good position at the door, many customers will drive with little sleep, even in bad road conditions, to edge out other customers. Another factor is the customer's perspective of other shoppers - they are tolerated until they reach for the item you intend to purchase - the last one in stock!
If you happen to be the lucky shopper who gets the last item at an incredible price, either cover (if possible) with other items in your cart or try to avoid that area of the store where others will be looking for the same item. Try to minimize possibilities of confrontation.
Above all, be courteous to other shoppers and don't be perceived as a line-cutter - it will cause resentment and possibly an altercation.
Retailers' obligation of Safety for Employees and Customers
In a frenzied effort to ratchet up end-of-year profits, Morgantown and Preston County's major retailers will offer their best sales of the year on Black Friday. Even in the midst of all the crowds, excitement, and confusion, retailers have an obligation to create and maintain a safe shopping environment for their employees and customers. Business owners also have a duty to maintain safe parking lots, sidewalks, stairs, and railings that are clear of water, ice, and obstacles to prevent personal injury.
Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men?
Every year we hear and read accounts of holiday madness: stampedes in which customers and employees are crushed, shoved, stabbed, or shot by retail vultures greedily filling their shopping carts with "holiday cheer." The Workers' Compensation Safety and Health Archives report, "Crowd forces can reach levels that almost impossible to resist or control. Virtually all crowd deaths are due to compressive asphyxia and not the "trampling" reported by the news media. Evidence of bent steel railings after several fatal crowd incidents show that forces of more than 4500N (1,000lbs) occurred. Forces are due to pushing, and the domino effect of people leaning against each other."
OSHA Guide for Preventing Injuries this Holiday Season
OSHA has recognized that Holiday shopping injuries have increased. Responding to the tragic workplace accident at a Wal-Mart in 2008 in which an unsuspecting and ill-equipped employee was trampled to death by a crowd of customers stampeding into the store, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a guide to employers for preventing injuries during the Holiday shopping season or at any other time when large crowds gather. The OSHA guide includes provisions for pre-planning strategies, practicing, and assigning specific workers to implement security, safety, and emergency responses. The National Retail Federation issued similar warnings and guidelines to retailers that include emergency response directives and having employees practice crowd control safety measures sometime before Black Friday.
What if a Business does not Maintain a Safe Environment?
When a place of business does not provide a safe workplace and shopping environment and an employee or customer suffers an accident, injury, or even a wrongful death, retail stores and malls are responsible for medical bills, lost wages and continuing disability, pain, suffering, and inconvenience caused by their carelessness.
May you have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!
If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence while shopping for that "perfect gift," contact us at http://www.robinettelaw.com or call 1-304-594-1800.