Black Friday safety measures would protect retail workers, OSHA says

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is recommending the nation’s largest retailers take precautions on Black Friday to protect workers from being trampled by customers during the busiest shopping day of the year.

The Black Friday safety measures come in response to dangerous workplace hazards at retail stores that have increased in recent years as customers push and shove through packed crowds to shop for Christmas gifts.

One retailer worker was even trampled to death by customers who were rushing through the store in 2008, OSHA says.

“During the hectic shopping season, retail workers should not be put at risk of injury of death,” says David Michaels, assistant labor secretary. “OSHA urges retailers to take the time to adopt a crown management plan and follow a few simple guidelines to prevent unnecessary harm to retail employees.”

Each store’s crowd management plan should include on-site security guards, barricades for customers as they wait to enter the store, an explanation of how they can enter the store safely, limits on how many customers can enter the store, and an emergency plan for when something goes wrong.

OSHA recommends these safety measures be taken at other major sales events in addition to Black Friday.

The agency wrote to the nation’s largest retailers this week reminding them about the potential hazards presented by Black Friday and recommendations for how to keep their employees safe.


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