Thursday, November 21, 2013

OSHA to retailers: Be safe on Black Friday, avoid tramplings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is warning retailers to get their crowd control plans in order in advance of next week's Black Friday shopping rush, in order to avoid workers or shoppers being trampled or otherwise injured.

The OSHA guidelines are an annual feature since Jdimytai Damour, 34, was trampled to death at a Long Island Walmart in 2008 by a mob rushing to get Black Friday deals.

Here are the highlights of OSHA's tips for retailers:

Crowd management plans should, at least, include:
  • On-site trained 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.
  • Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.
  • Methods for explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public.
  • Not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level.
  • Not blocking or locking exit doors.
The complete OSHA list of tips is here. It includes warnings such as this:
  • Ensure that barricade lines have an adequate number of breaks and turns at regular intervals to reduce the risk of customers pushing from the rear and possibly crushing others, including workers.
  • Prepare an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers facing workers, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, being struck by the crowd, violent acts and fire
Companies have taken steps to minimize danger since the stampede. For example, Walmart lets shoppers into its stores early now, and hands out tickets for deals before they're officially put on sale. That avoids the crush of people gathered outside, desperate to force their way in.


Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for the information.