Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OSHA Urges Black Friday Crowd Management

WASHINGTON -- OSHA 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 [management] 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:

• On-site trained security personnel or police officers.
• Barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the venue's entrance.
• Implementing crowd management measures well in advance of customers arriving at the event.
• Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.
• Explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public.
• Not allowing additional customers to enter the venue when it reaches its Maximum Occupancy level (NO SRO for spaces with fixed seating).
• Not blocking or locking of exit doors.

A fact sheet outlining these and other safety measures is available at 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 www.osha.gov/asst-sec/blackfriday_letter_2012.html.

Comments on this subject from Dr. Michaels are available for radio stations to rebroadcast.  To download the audio file, or view a transcript, visit www.osha.gov/ooc/previous-focus.html.

A crowd management guide can be downloaded from: http://forms.valorsecurity.com/rs/smsholdingscorporation/images/vss_crowd_management_guide.pdf

The National Retail Federation has also published an Effective Crowd Management Guide that can be found at: http://www.nrf.com/effectivecrowdmanagement/2012/#/0

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