OSHA Urges Retailers to Keep Workers Safe During Holiday Sales

The agency's annual message comes in advance of "Black Friday."

OSHA is encouraging retail employers to implement safety measures to prevent workplace injuries during major sales events, including Black Friday.

In 2008, a retail worker was trampled to death when shoppers rushed through the store to take advantage of holiday sales.

"During hectic shopping season, retail workers should not be put at risk of injury or death," 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."

Again this year, OSHA sent letters to major retailers to remind them about the potential hazards involved with managing large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season when sales events attract a higher number of shoppers.

OSHA says 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 a 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 a store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level; and not blocking or locking exit doors.

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