OSHA is encouraging retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries 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-holiday 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, says OSHA. The agency urges retailers to adopt a crowd management plan during the holiday shopping season that incorporates a few simple tips:

  • 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
  • Implementing crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store
  • Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers
  • 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

See OSHA's fact sheet outlining these and other safety measures or the letter that OSHA has sent to major retailers.