Monday, November 18, 2013

OSHA Offers Safety Guidelines for Retailers

In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death when holiday shoppers rushed through the store’s entrance to take advantage of some after-Thanksgiving Day sales. Five years later, these crowd-related injuries are still a major concern, especially during special sales events, and with the holiday shopping season right around the corner, OSHA is encouraging retail employers to take precautionary measures to prevent these injuries.

In a letter sent to major retailers nationwide, OSHA urges employers to adopt effective safety and health management systems to reduce work-related hazards, including those caused by large crowds. “Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers,” an OSHA fact sheet, provides retailers a guide for strengthening their current procedures and reducing the risk of injury through a series of planning strategies. OSHA recommends that employers planning a large shopping event adopt a plan that encompasses crowd management planning, pre-event setup and emergency situation management.

Crowd management plans should include:
  • Additional staff, on-site trained security personnel and/or police officers where large crowds are expected. 
  • Barricades or rope lines that do not start right in front of the store's entrance. 
  • Pre-event planning and implementation of crowd control measures. 
  • Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers. 
  • Proper management of occupancy levels. 
  • No restricting, locking or otherwise blocking exit doors 
Click here to see the full list of recommendations.