Retailers Encouraged To Take Safety Precautions During “Black Friday” Sales

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging CEOs of 14 major retail companies to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during “Black Friday” and the holiday season’s other major sales events.

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 by OSHA.

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The agency sent a letter and fact sheet on “Crowd Management Safety Tips for Retailers” to the CEOs of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Target Corporation, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, Apple and other major retailers.

“Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years,” said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “Many of 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.”

According to OSHA, crowd management plans should include having trained security personnel or police officers on-site, setting up crowd control well in advance of customers arriving at the store, and having in place emergency procedures that address potential dangers.

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.


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