Crowd Management Critical During Major Sales Events
OSHA reminds retail employers to take necessary steps to keep shoppers safe
OSHA is encouraging retail employers to take precautions to prevent workplace injuries during major sales events, including Black Friday.
This year marks the fifth year anniversary of the death of a worker killed upon opening a large store for a Black Friday sales event. In 2008, the worker was trampled to death when shoppers rushed through the store entrance to take advantage of the holiday sales. Retailers can avoid similar tragedies through crowd management and safety precautions.
“The busy shopping season should not put retail workers at risk of being injured or killed,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA urges retailers to take the time to adopt a crowd management plan and follow a few simple guidelines to prevent unnecessary harm to retail employees.”
OSHA sent letters to major retailers as well as retail and fire associations nationwide reminding employers and fire chiefs about the potential hazards involved with large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers. Retailers are encouraged to use the safety guidelines provided in the OSHA fact sheet they received, “Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers,” in addition to their own procedures. They were also reminded to maintain appropriate access to exit routes and ensure that exits are not blocked.
Crowd management plans should, at least, include:
On-site trained security personnel or police officers
Barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the store’s entrance
The implementation of crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store
Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers
Methods for explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public
Not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level
Not blocking or locking exit doors
Whether you are wearing your HR hat or your shopper hat, as human resource professionals we should always be aware of safety issues like this and either fulfill our work-related responsibilities accordingly or offer our expertise in the role of good citizen shoppers and assist in supporting safety in our community retail establishments.
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