HEALTH wants to remind local businesses of the health and safety issues associated with Black Friday retail events. HEALTH's OSHA Consultation Program has visited over 50 employers to educate them about the risks and dangers associated with crowd control management at large "door buster" opening events. Local OSHA staff have distributed the National OSHA Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers through on-site visits, answering questions about the guidelines and providing suggestions for how to best manage large crowds. They emphasize the need for training employees who work these events in order to encourage an orderly and systematic approach.
Across the nation in past years there have been stories of dangerous, even sometimes riotous activities in large stores. However, this problem is not limited to retailers like Walmart and other "big box" stores. Over the last several years, Rhode Island has seen an increasing number of smaller retailers participating in Black Friday events. Many of these smaller facilities are lacking in adequate training and knowledge of proper crowd management techniques, don't have appropriate staff to work security, and don't have proper plans in place for large crowds.
HEALTH encourages all retailers planning on holding a Black Friday event to consult OSHA's Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers. According to the Guidelines, crowd management plans should, at a minimum, 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.
For more information and a copy of the Guidelines visit www.osha.gov or call HEALTH's OSHA Consultation Program at 222-7745.