Black Friday Safety

Black Friday Safety

When it comes to Black Friday, you either like or loathe the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza. Black Friday has become so popular that it has started to infringe on Thanksgiving itself, making many people wonder if consumerism is more important than time with family. Regardless of how you feel about Black Friday, it’s a pretty big deal and it looks as though it’s here to stay. Although the major shopping event of the year is good for the economy and for the shoppers who want to save some money, it can also be dangerous for shoppers and retailers. On average, each year, there’s a small handful of reported injuries that take place on Black Friday; however these statistics may be low considering that not all injuries make the news or are reported. If you decide to venture out and wait in line at one of the big box stores, take the time to make sure you’re safe.

Stay Safe in Retail


During the holiday season, retail employees work hard for every cent they earn. Long shifts, extended store hours, holiday music on an endless loop, and stressed out customers are common challenges each day in the life of a retail worker. Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and it rarely slows until the after the holidays are over and shoppers have made exchanges or returns. Black Friday means job security to many who work in retail, but it can result in workplace injuries and even death. On Black Friday in 2008, a Long Island retail worker was trampled to death by shoppers who had more or less broke down the barriers to get inside of the Wal-Mart. In such a frantic rush to get the biggest deal, Black Friday shoppers may have had no idea that the person who had fallen had been killed by bargain hungry shoppers.


While retail workers strive to make Black Friday shopping safe and organized for all shoppers, employees are often at risk for injuries that can leave them out of work permanently due to a disability, which can put an end to financial security. According to the Virginia SSDI attorneys at Marks and Harrison Law Firm, in order to receive disability pay, an eligible disability should be expected to last for at least one year or expected to result in death. Think about the Long Island worker, had he not tragically passed away, his injuries may have been severe enough that he would never work again.

Safety Plan on Black Friday


Implementing a Black Friday safety plan not only keeps shoppers safe, but benefits employees and the business overall. Here are some Black Friday safety tips to help keep employees safe, and ultimately have safer shoppers, during the mad dash for bargain prices:



  • Delegate Jobs: While it may be difficult to train some employees to a different department, delegate employees to certain responsibilities such as calling the police or emergency responders.



  • Explain Expectations: If employees have never worked when the store is full, explain what they can expect. Employees that don’t do well under the pressure of crowds should be delegated a different role for the day.



  • Have Security or Backup: When a line forms outside before a store opens, there’s almost always a mad and chaotic rush through the entryway (that’s kind of the thrill of Black Friday). Hire security or people who aren’t afraid to face a crowd head on, but can do it safely. This individual should know how to manage a crowd without using force.



This Black Friday, stay safe, be prepared, and keep the post-holiday shopping tradition strong.


Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

As a small business, if you’ve been keeping your fingers crossed hoping that you won’t become target of a cyber attack, your luck may be running out. Just because big corporations, such as Target, have been hit hard, who’s to say that you’re immune? Sure, you are a small business and maybe you think you’re just a blip on the radar in the business world, but if someone wants to get access to your information they will find a way. If you are a business of any size, you have private customer and employee information that should never get into the wrong hands. Regardless of the size of your company or the number or your employees, it’s vital to protect yourself against cyber attacks. Here are a few ways to stay a little bit safer without losing sleep at night.

Amp Up Security


Many big businesses, avoiding a cyber attack or after the unfortunate success of an attack, move to amp up their security by hiring a privacy analyst. Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the financial means to hire an expensive but valuable employee for their business. Does that mean you should just hope for the best? Not unless you consider yourself a good gambler.


Even though a privacy analyst may not be possible for every business, cybercrime prevention must be a step in any type and size of business. So, maybe if you can’t afford a full-time privacy analyst, you can hire someone to help you implement a cyber attack plan.

Employees You Can Trust


A problematic employee can make or break a small business. In addition to having a good employee that understands and shares your passion for your business, he or she must also be a trustworthy individual. For instance, if your business handles a lot of confidential information, you need to know that your employees will respect and commit to privacy. Additionally, you need to know that all of your personal and professional information will be kept private and not shared with the wrong people.


Educate your employees about cyber attacks and encourage them to have a smart and safe online presence. It may seem like a “no brainer”, but people often forget about online security, particularly if they’ve never been attacked. Teach your employees (and remind yourself) to be cautious when using social media, change and have multiple passwords for accounts, and pay attention to fraudster-like activity such as suspicious customer complaints.


Stay in the Loop

Once you build up your cyber security and have your cyber attack prevention plan in place, don’t think that the work is done. Cyber attackers evolve as quickly as technology and they continuously find ways to retrieve sensitive and confidential information that can destroy even the smallest of companies. One of the best ways to avoid your chances of becoming a cybercrime victim is staying up to date on security technology and other news in the cyber world. If you can’t have an employee solely dedicated to your security, consult with a professional every couple of months to make sure you are on track.

Is Your Business Insured Against Terrorism?

Is Your Business Insured Against Terrorism?

picjumbo.com_IMG_7453There isn’t a time in memory when businesses haven’t been touched by the legal and financial implications of war. We’ve worked with and hired veterans who possess extraordinary commitment and skill. Our employees have been sent to war, and we’ve navigated the laws regarding their continued employment. We dutifully pay our taxes, knowing some of the funds will be used to finance the military. But, until the domestic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we never had to consider war, or more specifically, terrorism, when choosing our business property insurance coverage. Until then, insurance companies hadn’t given it much thought either.

The History of TRIA

The aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001 changed that, and not for the better. Prior to 9/11, acts of terrorism weren’t specifically included or excluded by most insurance companies. After 9/11, reinsurers had no way to accurately gauge the risk of terrorism exposure, so they changed their coverage to specifically exclude acts of terror. Since reinsurers were no longer covering it, primary insurers excluded terror from coverage as well. State regulators approved such exclusions in most cases.

Since damages resulting from terrorist attacks were no longer covered, many business sectors became vulnerable, including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, and utilities. In 2002, to sidestep any potential threat that vulnerability could bring to the national economy, Congress enacted TRIA, or the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

What is TRIA?

TRIA requires primary insurers to offer terrorism coverage for specific types of insurance. To help offset the risk taken on by the primary insurers, the federal government will fill the role of reinsurer, serving as a backstop in the event of a terrorist attack. Primary insurers will submit claims to the federal government’s Share Claim Process. After reviewing and approving the claims, compensation will be dispersed to the primary insurers by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The Federal Terrorism Insurance Program was established to handle administrative duties related to helping the post-9/11 insurance market recover, as well as to facilitate recovery after any future terrorist attacks. Overseeing the Federal Terrorism Insurance Program are the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Insurance Office.

The Future of TRIA

Each time TRIA is set to be considered for extension, anxiety arises from impacted sectors that are concerned about the possibility of canceled or unfunded projects. So, given the importance of TRIA, it’s clear that it will exist in some version for the foreseeable future. Recent history shows that to be true, too. In 2007, TRIA was amended and extended by Congress. In January, 2015, President Obama signed a six year extension of TRIA, staving off new concerns that commercial loans and projects could be halted if TRIA were to lapse.


Among other things, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) requires insurers to offer certain types of coverage for acts of terrorism. But, the Act doesn’t make the insurers go it alone. Instead, TRIA assigns the federal government the role of reinsurer in the event of a terrorist attack. TRIA is the law, and insurers are obliged to abide by it. Click here for more information about TRIA, and click here for more information about the Federal Share Claim Process.

It’s Not Just Customers Who Can Slip and Fall; Employees Also Face Risk

It’s Not Just Customers Who Can Slip and Fall; Employees Also Face Risk

slip-and-fallThe busy holiday shopping season coincides with the onset of winter weather in Virginia, which can create slippery walking surfaces in and around shopping centers due to rain, snow, ice and snowmelt. While this can create a treacherous situation for customers, it can also lead to slips and falls for retail employees during their busiest time of the year.

These slips and falls by employees at shopping centers, malls, stores and other retail establishments can lead to workers’ compensation claims, not to mention painful injuries for employees.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), risk factors for slips and falls in the workplace include: ice, snow and rain; loose mats or rugs; spills; poor lighting; and walking surfaces in disrepair. NIOSH recommends taking steps to prevent workplace falls, such as placing signs when surfaces are wet, using slip-resistant mats, installing proper lighting and choosing flooring material that will reduce the chance of falls.

The Cost of Slips and Falls on the Job

Falls are serious business for employers and employees. Statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute indicate:

  • Falls account for more than 8 million emergency room visits, and slips and falls account for more than 1 million visits, or 12 percent of all falls.
  • Fractures often are the most serious consequences of falls, and occurring in 5 percent of people who fall.
  • Slips and falls represent the primary cause of lost days from work due to occupational injuries.
  • Slips and falls are the top cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people age 55 and older.
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, floors and flooring materials are the direct cause of more than 2 million fall injuries yearly.
  • 85 percent of worker’s compensation claims stem from employees slipping on slick floors, according to Industrial Safety & Occupational Health Markets 5th Edition.

Preventing Falls at Retailers

Zurich Services Corporation’s “Slips, trips and falls for retail,” offers a 10-point program meant to guide to help retail management teams reduce and control slips and falls in the retail environment. It indicates that business owners or managers must work to maintain safe walking surfaces at all times, especially when snow and ice are present.

The guide recommends slip-resistant flooring for retail outlets, citing studies that indicate 80 percent or more of the moisture on employees’ and customers’ shoes can be removed with the addition of quality entrance mats at store entrances.

The guide also reported that the average workers’ compensation claim value for slip, trip and fall accidents over a five-year period was $26,460, with falls related to ice and snow having an average claim value of $28,218.

Making a Claim for Workers’ Compensation After a Fall

In Virginia, all workers, including retail employees, may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they have a slip-and-fall accident while on the job. If you need emergency medical treatment after the accident, make sure to tell the medical team you were injured on the job.

If you have been injured on the job in Virginia, you should file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should report the injury to your employer immediately – no later than 30 days from the date of the accident – and file a claim with the commission within two years of the accident.

Your employer may arrange for you to see a doctor after your accident. The employer should also file a report of the accident within 10 days. It’s also a good idea to seek help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have suffered a fall while on the job.

Workplace Safety and Notice Requirements

Workplace Safety and Notice Requirements

work-safetyRegardless of whether your business is a startup or long established in the community, or if it’s a sole proprietorship or a multinational corporation, there are federal business laws that you must follow. Not every federal business law applies to every business, however. Knowing which laws apply to you and your business will prevent you from enduring the stress and frustration of wasting money and time paying penalties and correcting any issues. Two basic, but critical areas of federal business law are the requirement of nearly every business to post specific notices, and the laws regarding workplace safety.

Posted Information

Beginning with the basics, federal law requires most businesses to prominently display certain official notices in common areas of the workplace, such as break rooms or kitchens. Ranging from OSHA notices to posters regarding minimum wage, the posting requirements vary from business to business. If you are unsure about which notices your business is required by law to post, consult the United States Department of Labor (DOL) FirstStep Poster Advisor. Some states also require additional notices, so check with your state’s labor department if you aren’t sure about local requirements.

Workplace Safety Laws

Focusing on the safety of your employees protects them, but it also protects you from lawsuits and government penalties for breaking the law, as well as violating OSHA standards. All businesses are required to adhere to federal safety laws, and the best and most convenient place to start is on OSHA’s Compliance Assistance webpage. The site is not comprehensive, as your business may need to meet additional requirements. But, it does offer guidance for every industry, including construction, health care, and general industries (retail, wholesale, manufacturing). It even offers assistance for employers who have a predominantly Spanish-speaking workforce.

In order to be certain that your business is in full compliance with federal safety laws, OSHA also offers a free on-site consultation program designed for small and medium-sized businesses. According to their website, in 2013, this OSHA program conducted about 30,000 workplace assessments.

In addition to federal workplace safety laws, each state may have its own set of additional requirements. Contact your state for further information, and to ensure that your business is also in compliance with state safety laws, should they be more stringent than those prescribed by the federal government.

Federal business laws can be complex and confusing given that not every law applies to every business. However, there are areas of law that every business must adhere to, regardless of size, as evidenced by the examples of the laws related to workplace safety and the requirement to post important notices. The question you need to answer is ‘which of those laws pertain to my specific business?’

If you are uncertain about which federal business laws may apply to you, complete the U.S. Department of Labor’s FirstStep Employment Law Advisor survey for clarity. While it doesn’t cover every federal business law, it does cover the major Department of Labor laws. If you have further questions, contact the Department of Labor. By ensuring that you and your business are in compliance with federal business laws you will avoid wasting time and money tangling with the government, and instead use those resources toward something more useful – growing your business.