Tag Archives: Black Friday

Workers Risk Injury During Holiday Shopping Season

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The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it is known, is anticipated by millions of Americans as a fun holiday shopping tradition that marks the beginning of the Christmas season. But crowded stores and the hunt for bargains can create hazards for shoppers and retail workers. For example, in 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death outside a store in New York City.

But leaving aside the extreme examples of hazards, the holiday shopping season poses many less-publicized risks to retail workers.

The first risk posed to holiday workers, especially on a day like Black Friday, is the additional risk of injuries on overnight shifts. The National Institutes of Health reported that the risk of injury on an overnight shift is 30 percent higher than during a day shift. That same report also quoted a British report that showed that work injuries increased exponentially for every hour worked in a shift after eight hours. This is a risk when employees work long hours over the Black Friday weekend and when employees, many who are working another job, come to their holiday jobs after they have already worked a full day. Finally, new and temporary employees, including many holiday workers, face a higher risk for injury.

Today marks the so-called Cyber Monday, when shoppers traditionally place online orders. Online shopping has increased the need for delivery drivers. Delivery driving can be a hazardous job, due to lifting and the risk of motor-vehicle accidents. The risk of delivery driving is compounded by the fact that many delivery drivers are misclassified as independent contractors, so they lack protections like workers’ compensation. One recent story from The Indpendent out of the U.K. revealed that contract delivery drivers for Amazon.com were paid less than the minimum wage and were forced to urinate and defecate in their vehicles to make their deliveries in a timely manner.

Holiday workers face all of these risks for pay that is generally low. Plus, if an injury from a temporary holiday job prevents a person from working their regular, full-time job, that employee faces difficult issues maintaining both employment and benefits with the main, full-time employer.

If there is anything positive about the coverage of Black Friday, it’s helpful that workplace violence among low-wage workers gets covered. Among the most vulnerable to violence are convenience store clerks working overnight shifts. The Indiana Department of Labor did a study that showed 32 convenience store clerks were killed on the job in 2010. Last summer, a clerk was shot at a northwest Lincoln Kwik Shop, here in Nebraska. That murder was covered as a crime story here in Lincoln. However, that murder and the murders like it all across the country should also be covered as workplace-safety stories.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , , , .

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing You and Yours a Safe Holiday

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. The office of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, P.C., L.L.O. and Trucker Lawyers will close at 3:30 p.m. today. We will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 25, for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will open again on Monday, Nov. 28, at 8:30 a.m.

Whether traveling, working, cooking for loved ones, or playing a post-feast football game with those loved ones, please have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Special thanks go to the people (and the sacrifices that their loved ones make to share them) who will be busy taking care of others by working this Thanksgiving: first responders, health care workers, truck drivers, and those who have retail jobs at stores open on Thanksgiving or prepping for Black Friday. In addition, all of the businesses that choose to be closed for Thanksgiving are appreciated, as are companies that get their drivers home to be with loved ones for the holiday.

If you plan to do some shopping on Black Friday, please take note of this OSHA FactSheet resource regarding crowd management safety guidelines from the U.S. Labor Department.

We are thankful for so much. At this time of thanksgiving, we are especially thankful for family, friends, and the opportunity to advocate for clients who make our work worthwhile. Happy Thanksgiving!

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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Rise of Online Shopping Bodes for More Dangerous Holiday Jobs

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X2_warehouseThe business press has trumpeted the fact that online sales outpaced in-store sales over the post-Thanksgiving weekend. A less-reported fact is that more temporary holiday jobs have shifted from in-store retail sales to more warehousing and transportation jobs that are more dangerous. This is especially true in the wintertime, when delivery drivers in many parts of the country are exposed to hazards from slippery surfaces and also to cold weather. 

Adding to the risk of transportation jobs is the fact that many transportation companies attempt to define their drivers as independent contractors, which means drivers would bear the cost of work injuries. Major holiday employer FedEx recently had to pay a $228 million settlement for misclassifying their delivery drivers as independent contractors. Similar arguments have been made against Uber, who is now attempting to compete with FedEx in the delivery business.

The mere fact that you signed an agreement where you agreed to be an independent contractor doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an independent contractor, but it could affect your ability to collect some employment benefits, like workers’ compensation benefits. If you are hurt as an independent contractor, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your state, as laws are state specific. If you believe you are not being paid for breaks, overtime or even being paid the minimum wage as an independent contractor, then contact an experienced employment attorney as there are both federal and state laws that protect employees who are misclassified as independent contractors.

Employee misclassification adds another layer of risk for employees who hold second jobs over the holidays or any other time of the year. True independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation, but many, if not most, temporary holiday jobs would not qualify for independent-contractor status. Workers’ compensation was never designed to compensate people for pain and suffering, but in the case of those injured on lower-paid holiday or second jobs, workers’ compensation benefits may not even remotely pay you for how an injury affects your ability to earn a living. Be sure to weigh the risks of taking a holiday job or any second job.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Independent Contractor, Misclassification, Safety violations, Work Injury, workplace accidents, Workplace Injury, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , .

Thanksgiving Thoughts: Appreciating Workers and Stores Closed on Holiday

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thanksgiving.jpegWhat are your plans later in the week? Will you gather with family, friends, and loved ones? And do you plan to go shopping? Or do you have to work and just hope, like many truck drivers, that you’ll get a warm meal that may or may not involve turkey on Thursday?

I want to thank everyone who doesn’t have a choice in the matter and who will be working on Thursday, including first responders, health care workers, truckers and retail workers. I also want to provide a few links to online articles I found that list stores that have chosen to be closed on Thanksgiving so these employees can be with their loved ones, whether friends or family. Each list is slightly different, and I realize that there are different stores in Iowa and Nebraska, too, so that’s why there are three links.

In addition, if you plan to do some shopping on Black Friday, please take note of this OSHA FactSheet resource regarding crowd management safety guidelines from the U.S. Labor Department’s Twitter feed.

Also note that the offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers will close at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be open again at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30.

We are thankful for so much. At this time of reflection, we are especially thankful for family, friends, and the opportunity to advocate for clients who make our work worthwhile. Happy Thanksgiving!

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Employment, employment law, Holiday, Iowa, Nebraska, OSHA and tagged , , , .

Safety, Health a Struggle at Wal-Mart, Nation’s Biggest Employer

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the nation’s largest employer, according to USA Today. Including Sam’s Club, 2.2 million people worldwide work there, and more than 1.3 million work for the company in the United States.

Being the nation’s largest employer also should mean being responsible for employees’ health and safety. Sadly, that’s not really the case.

Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) recently wrote this blog post for HuffPost Business.

Her framework starts with OSHA’s citation of $7,000 when security guard Jdimytai Damour died after being trampled on Black Friday almost 7 years ago. Earlier in March, after spending more than $1 million fighting the fine, “Wal-Mart decided to withdraw their appeal and pay up, not because they admitted wrongdoing, but because of a desire to put the matter to rest,” according to Obernauer’s article.

She goes on to list examples of health and safety violations by “Wal-Mart-affiliated warehouse distributors” and Wal-Mart stores themselves.  This included the following scenario:

“The company was also cited several serious violations for not immediately providing employees with adequate personal protective equipment and never offering a Hepatitis B shot after they cleaned up blood on the job, along with a number of other violations of OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard.”

In addition, the firm’s blog has previously featured posts that include Wal-Mart’s attitude toward injured workers on transitional duty and paying workers so little that they need public benefits.

I agree with Obernauer’s final paragraph completely.

“While finally agreeing to stop appealing a $7,000 fine after a worker died on Wal-Mart’s watch is a step in the right direction, it is a puny step down a prolonged path towards creating healthier, safer and more just jobs at Wal-Mart. They have a long way to go.”

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workplace Injury, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , , .

7 Tips to Make Black Friday Safer

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Black Friday Sale Crowds

Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman, of Jon L Gelman LLC, a law firm in New Jersey. Although this post originally ran last year, I think the lessons and reminders for employers are still very much current and also a good read for employees to be as safe as possible. Here is OSHA’s news release about “Crowd management measures are critical during major sales events; US Labor Department’s OSHA sends reminder to retail associations.” The news release also has a link to the fact sheet mentioned in the blog post below.

Although I realize the importance of getting a good deal, please also remember that workers in retail are people, too, and deserve to be treated the way you wish to be treated. Because many of these workers are working temporary jobs for the season, please practice some patience, understanding and good will towards both fellow shoppers and those working during the hectic holiday season. A simple smile can often make a person’s day. Best wishes on getting that good deal or special gift!

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during Black Friday and other major sales events during the holiday season.

In 2008, a worker was trampled to death while a mob of shoppers rushed through the doors of a large store to take advantage of an after-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales event. OSHA recommends that retailers follow certain safeguards against this type of tragedy.

“Crowd control and proper planning are critical to preventing injuries and deaths,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA urges retailers to adopt a crowd management plan during the holiday shopping season that includes a few simple guidelines.”

Crowd management plans should include:

  1. On-site trained security personnel or police officers.
  2. Barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the store’s entrance.
  3. Implementing crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
  4. Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.
  5. Explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public.
  6. Not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level.
  7. Not blocking or locking exit doors.

A fact sheet outlining these and other safety measures is available athttps://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/Crowd_Control.html. A letter that OSHA has sent to major retailers about preventing crowd-related injuries can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/blackfriday_letter_2012.html.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Safety and tagged , .

Black Friday Special: 10 Worst Toys for 2011

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Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman of New Jersey. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

A consumer group in Boston, W.A.T.C.H., has published its “10 Worst Toys for 2011” list. The toys nominated represent toys with the potential to cause childhood injuries, or even death. W.A.T.C.H.’s annual “Toy Conference” has generated extensive national press and media coverage. Because of these efforts, and the positive response from both the media and the public, there have been many toy and product design changes.

 

Twist ‘n Sort

1. TWIST ‘n SORT

Price: $13.35
Manufacturer or Distributor: Guidecraft, Inc.
Purchased: WonderBrains.com
Age Recommendation: “Ages 3+”
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts.  Not for children under 3 yrs.”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!
This play set consisting of a “brightly colored geometric block and solid wood base” is sold to provide “years of developmental fun” with “problem solving challenges” and “fine motor practice.” On October 20, 2011, certain lots of these toys were recalled because “[t]he small pegs on three of the four posts can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children”. After issuance of the recall, a newly purchased Twist ‘n Sort toy exhibited the same “choking hazard” identified in the government’s recall notice.

 

Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade

2. POWER RANGERS SAMURAI MEGA BLADE
Price:  $26.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Bandai
Purchased: Toys R Us (also available Kmart.com and Walmart.com)
Age Recommendation: “4+” and “Ages 4 and up”
Warnings: Package insert:  “CAUTION: PLEASE READ BEFORE PLAYING WITH TOY.
Do not: (1) aim toy at anyone, (2) hit anyone with toy, (3) poke anyone with toy, (4) swing toy at anyone….”; and  other cautions and warnings.

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES!
Young children are encouraged to pull a release and flip-open this rigid plastic Power Rangers Samurai “sword”, which “extends 2 feet!” according to the packaging. The blade has the potential to cause serious facial or other impact injuries.

 

Fold & Go Trampoline

3. FOLD & GO TRAMPOLINE

Price:  $99.99 Continue reading

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Dangerous Products, Preventing Injury and tagged , , .