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OSHA tells retailers to prioritize crowd management at major sales

Black Friday Large Crowd Control Barrier OSHA Suggestions

By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post

The U.S. Labor Department on Monday warned U.S. retailers that crowd management is critical during major sales events.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it is encouraging retail employers to take precautions to prevent workplace injuries at big sales, including Black Friday.

The agency said this year marks the five-year anniversary of the death of a worker killed upon opening a large store for an after-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales event. In 2008, the worker was trampled to death when shoppers rushed through the store entrance to take advantage of holiday sales.

The agency said retailers can avoid similar tragedies through crowd management and safety procedures.

"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," Michaels said in a statement.

OSHA is sending letters to major retailers as well as retail and fire associations nationwide reminding employers and fire chiefs about the potential hazards.

OSHA said crowd-management plans should, at least, include on-site 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; and emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.


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