As the summer fades into autumn, the attention of retailers begins to turn to one of the busiest days and events on the calendar, Black Friday.
Each year, the day following the US holiday of Thanksgiving, a wave of shoppers arrive at storefronts and online shopping sites to seek out the biggest bargains for themselves or their loved ones in the run-up to the winter festivities.
Almost £9 billion was predicted to be spent in 2022 on Black Friday, making the period a very exciting and profitable time for many retailers.
However, along with the positives of increased revenue come the day’s risks.
Black Friday promises unique challenges and issues for retailers to deal with in-store, so thorough preparation is vital. At PARRS, we take great pride in health and safety practices, and our guide will ensure your business is ready for one of the busiest retail days of the year.
Table of contents
- The Black Friday impact in retail
- General retail safety tips
- Black Friday retail safety hazards
- Prepare for Black Friday with PARRS
The Black Friday impact in retail
In the UK alone, shoppers were estimated to have spent £8.71 billion over Black Friday weekend in 2022, with £3.9 billion of that estimated to have been spent in-store.
High streets are set to be busy yet again as while the popularity has fallen somewhat due to the post-COVID social and financial landscape, plenty of British consumers will be primed to find this year’s best buy.
The boost a retailer can receive from a successful Black Friday is enormous, but it can only be successful if safety is prioritised and everyone leaves unscathed.
General retail safety tips
Before we dive into the specifics of what challenges Black Friday weekend offers, we need to ensure you have the basics perfected. No business can operate to its full potential without proper health and safety procedures being implemented and followed to a tee.
Make sure employees understand your health and safety policy
Ensure that you and your staff are all educated on how to stay safe at work by keeping a copy of your health and safety policy in a visible workplace area at all times. Don’t let other posters or notes block the copy.
Outline safety procedures for workers operating at a height
Many shops will occasionally need staff to work at a height, with ladders often needed. Be responsible by ensuring the equipment is in top condition, and no damage could lead to a potential risk. Outline the correct procedures to your staff using items such as ladders and identify the risks of falling from the height.
Complete risk assessments
Risk assessments should be carried out thoroughly and frequently to ensure your workplace is safe. Follow these steps in your assessments to create a safe working environment:
- Identify risks and hazards
- Identify who is at risk
- Evaluate and minimise the risks
- Make note of any risks and review them after alterations
Black Friday retail safety hazards
Black Friday weekend presents many unique challenges for retailers to contend with. These challenges can often be safety hazards that shops must rigorously prepare for in the lead-up to the big few days until Cyber Monday.
The following are what we see as the biggest Black Friday retail safety hazards and how retailers can best prepare for them.
Preventing slips, trips and falls
Grit nearby pavements
With Black Friday coming just as the winter settles in, the risk of slips, trips and falls increases. When low to freezing temperatures are forecast, it is important to grit any nearby pavements to ensure minimal risk of customers or staff slipping on the icy surface.
Provide lighting in outdoor areas
The winter also provides darker days, so good lighting around your storefront is a good way of increasing visibility so anyone can spot any dangerous areas. The additional custom that Black Friday brings also brings in extra mud or dirt from the outdoors. Regular cleaning is essential, but be careful not to clean in a way that can increase the risk of slipping.
Spot clean your store
Spot clean when possible to avoid mopping, but should you need to mop, go over the mopped area with a dry mop to not leave the surface wet. After mopping, always ensure a wet floor sign is in place to inform shoppers. You can also block off any areas that can cause trips in the store with barriers.
Retailers can expect increased stock deliveries over the Black Friday weekend, which can result in a lot of heavy lifting for staff. Make it a priority to reduce the risk of manual handling as much as possible. There are several ways you can do this.
- Carry out a manual handling-specific risk assessment that outlines every task regarding lifting and the risks that come with them.
- When possible, automate heavy lifting tasks to take the pressure off employees and reduce the risk of injury.Another way to assist in keeping staff safe is to set a strict weight limit for manual handling and ensure your employees are aware and stick to it.
- Some people aren’t used to lifting heavy weights and can go about it all wrong. Train your staff on the correct posture and techniques of lifting.
Extra deliveries can also mean extra heavy-duty vehicles on the premises, which could cause safety risks for staff and customers. These dangers can be minimised with simple procedures, such as segregated routes for the vehicles to pass through, keeping them away from the shop floor and any customers.
Limiting the speed of any vehicles on site will help reduce risk, as will giving drivers generous delivery windows to avoid rushing. Be sure that any surfaces that will be driven on are fit for purposes, and the drivers can easily manoeuvre their vehicles with minimal risk.
Unfortunately, large crowds searching for the best deals can lead to ill-tempered altercations. Nobody wants to see it, and we hope it doesn’t come to it, but it is important to be prepared should it occur in your store. Reducing the risk of violence and dealing with violent incidents quickly must be considered.
Make clear with signs and posters that aggressive behaviour towards fellow customers and employees will not be tolerated. Ensure CCTV cameras are in clear positions so customers know any actions will be caught on camera. Consider hiring extra security for the weekend to increase the feeling of safety among staff. Add to this by clarifying that you don’t expect employees to confront shoplifters.
Allow your employees to keep their phones on them at all times so they can call for assistance or phone the police if necessary.
Often causing more injuries than violence on Black Friday weekends, overcrowding is one of the biggest safety risks retailers have to battle. Being prepared for a much larger amount of people than normal in your shop is crucial to giving everyone the best chance of staying safe.
A good way to combat overcrowding is to have a marked queuing system that one or two staff members oversee to ensure it moves along smoothly. You can also ensure that some products you expect to be in demand are in well-spaced areas, avoiding the eventual crowd in tight spaces.
Keep an eye out for any obstacles in aisles that could get in the way of customers and employees, and be sure to move them if they arise. Avoid going over-capacity by tracking everyone entering and leaving the shop.
Prepare for Black Friday with PARRS
Now that you know what challenges you will face as a retailer this Black Friday, you can make sure you have all the equipment you need to combat these challenges by browsing the vast selection of appliances at PARRS.
Our manual handling appliances will assist you in moving the excess deliveries you’ll receive this Black Friday safely and efficiently. Steps and ladders from PARRS are an excellent investment for any industry, with versatile options available.