OSHA Provides Retailers With Crowd Management Safety Guidelines During Holiday Season

Tourists shopping at Duty Free Shop at Doha International Airport

The Holiday Season is definitely upon us. Thanksgiving is only hours away. And while many of us make our last minute preparations for that big turkey dinner and the inevitable tryptophan-induced nap in front of the television, retailers are preparing themselves for one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Black Friday, almost a national holiday unto itself, draws some of the biggest shopping crowds of the year. Many retailers open their doors as early as Thanksgiving night and can still count on a maximum capacity crowd. With great sales, however, comes great responsibility, and OSHA wants to remind retailers about its duty to keep workers safe.

​In furtherance of this, OSHA has released a set of guidelines to help retailers control crowds and avoid injuries. These guidelines address not only what should be done during the crowd-gathering event itself, but also the extremely important time before the event where pre-planning is necessary. These guidelines emphasize proper staffing and employee training to make sure workers are able to handle the rush. Additional precautions are also recommended, including the presences of clearly-visible signs to direct crowds and ensure safety. The guidelines also address how to handle emergency situations so that even in the case of an accident, serious injury can be minimized.

​While OSHA’s guideline sheet is not meant to include all the regulations employers must follow to ensure worker safety, it is an extremely helpful reference guide for retailers. Discussing these guidelines and their application with employees will go a long way to ensure that everyone is prepared to handle the inevitable shopping crowds that come with the holiday season.


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