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Retailers Should Prevent Worker Injuries During Black Friday Shopping Craze

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Press Contacts: 

Dorry Samuels

Tel: (508) 277-7997

dorry.samuels@gmail.com

Retailers Should Prevent Worker Injuries During Black Friday Shopping Craze

Employers Should Properly Train Employees, Have Safety Procedures In Place 

Nov. 20, 2012 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As retailers and holiday bargain shoppers gear up for Black Friday – which is getting earlier and earlier every year – employers must ensure that their employees are safe throughout the day and the holiday season.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent letters last week to the CEOs of major retail employers urging them to follow common-sense crowd control measures to prevent worker injuries. (See OSHA's Crowd Management Safety Guidelines Fact Sheet for more information.)

OSHA recommends that crowd management plans should 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.
  • Implementing crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
  • Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.
  • 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.

“There is no excuse for retailers to risk employees’ safety in the name of driving sales on the biggest shopping day of the year,” said Tom O’Connor, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “Employees should be properly trained to deal with the influx of customers, and safety procedures – both planned and emergency – should be in place before stores’ doors open.”

Just four years ago, a Long Island Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by customers racing throughout the store for their holiday loot.

Today, Wal-Mart is still in the news for Black Friday as workers across the country threaten action (think strike, flash mobs, picket lines, and other demonstrations) if the big box store continues to retaliate against workers who speak out for better pay and working conditions. Unions like SEIU are circulating action alerts in support of the Wal-Mart employees.

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The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is a federation of local and statewide organizations; a private, non-profit coalition of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others interested in promoting and advocating for worker health and safety.

To learn more about the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, visit: http://www.coshnetwork.org.