OSHA encouraging retailers to prepare for crowd management - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

OSHA encouraging retailers to prepare for crowd management

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WASHINGTON (WBTV) – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging major 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.

The store was not using the kind of crowd management measures recommended in OSHA's fact sheet.

"Crowd control is critical to preventing injuries and deaths," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "These incidents can be prevented by adopting a crowd management plan, and this fact sheet provides retail employers with guidelines for avoiding injuries during the holiday shopping season." 

The fact sheet provides employers with recommended elements for crowd management plans. Plans should include having trained security personnel or police officers on-site, setting up barricades or rope lines for pedestrians and crowd control well in advance of customers arriving at the store.

Stores should make sure that barricades are set up so that the customers' line does not start right at the entrance of the store, having emergency procedures in place that address potential dangers.

They should also have security personnel or customer service representatives explain approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public.  

OSHA also recommends not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level and not blocking or locking exit doors.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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