OSHA Sends Message to Retailers: Protect Employees and Focus on Crowd Management

  • Date: November 16, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges 14 retailers to ensure safety measures during the holiday season’s primary sales events and Black Friday. The notification to the CEO’s is on a letter and fact sheet on ‘Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers’.
This comes in the wake of the death of a worker in 2008 during a stampede of mob shoppers storming a sales event for an after-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday.
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. Toward that end, OSHA has sent a letter and fact sheet on "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers" to the CEOs.
OSHA’s crowd management safety guidelines fact sheet – a snapshot view:
Preparation—Establish as plan, employ trained security personnel or police officers, post signs, etc.
Set Up—Construct appropriate rope lines or barricades appropriately, designate representatives to guide shoppers, ensure barricade setup prevents customer lineups at the store’s entrance, etc.
Sales Event—Make an announcement on opening of doors, guard staff entrances with authorized personnel, curb entry once the store is fully occupied, etc.
Emergency—Ensure that exit doors are unlocked and unblocked, have emergency medical response team available, communicate details of personnel to contact in the event of an emergency, etc.
"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."
Workplace Safety
Employers can considerably reduce risks at the workplace by incorporating safety and health programs into core business processes. OSHA has established voluntary guidelines for workplaces.
Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP)
The Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP) provides the OSHA family and the public with guidance on how to comply with the requirements of OSHA standards.
Wal-Mart’s move post the stampede
Wal-Mart sharply changed its approach to crowd management following the tragic death of its temporary store worker in 2008. In 2009, they developed a new plan in collusion with experts, with each store having a customized plan. The company kept its stores open 24 hours hoping to reduce crowds during peak shopping hours.
National Retail Federation (NRF)
NRF represents the retail industry and all retailers.
In collaboration with retail loss prevention executives, NRF recently updated its crowd management guidelines for the 2010 holiday season.
The guidelines outline crucial elements of a crowd control and/or emergency plan. They include promotional/holiday sales and special events, sales and events versus emergency management crowd controls, mall-based retailers versus non mall-based retailers, and crowd management guidelines, references and contingency plans.
Specific checklists are available for working on a plan for crowd control. Retailers are advised to take into account, communication, type of event, training, staffing, queues, environmental and physical factors, etc while forming their crowd control and emergency plans.


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