The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a statement on November 17, 2014 to highlight the potential dangers of the upcoming holiday season for workers in retail-related occupations. The months of November and December can be quite hectic in the United States: between Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving and a ton of other celebrations, it tends to get fairly busy.
Sadly, the holidays can also be a very dangerous time. One of the most high profile incidents highlighting this fact is that of 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour of Queens, New York, a Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death during the 5 a.m. opening of his store during 2008’s Black Friday sales.
Thousands of eager shoppers poured into the store, tearing the doors from their hinges and flooding the aisles. Damour did what he could to stem the tide, but by 6:03 a.m., Damour had died and several others were injured in the rush.
Could This Tragedy Have Been Avoided?
Absolutely. Black Friday deals are no excuse for violence. Though it would be easy to blame this situation on the throngs of deal-seekers, Damour’s death could have been avoided with more foresight on the part of his employer.
OSHA’s suggestions include:
- Increased security presence to help keep the crowds under control.
- Barricades that keep the front lines of the crowds well away from the store entrance.
- Not allowing stores to exceed maximum occupancy.
- Educating customers on approach and entrance procedures before allowing them to enter the store.
Had these procedures been implemented ahead of time, this tragedy might not have occurred.
Is a workplace injury ruining your holiday season? Contact our law firm, and we will do our part to bring back your cheer!
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys