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OSHA Reminds Retailers To Practice Safe Crowd Management Techniques During Sales Events

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Interiors, Safety, Topics

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Published on November 18, 2013 with No Comments

Crowd management measures are critical during major sales events; US Labor Department’s OSHA sends reminder to retail associations

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

In advance of the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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 an after-Thanksgiving Day 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.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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