Susan Dickenson

OSHA issues safety guidelines for holiday crowds

November 18, 2013

In advance of the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is OSHA Fact Sheetencouraging 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, "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers," available here.