OSHA Crowd Management Guidelines Released by the OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District to Promote Safety of Retail Workers and Shoppers

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Retail Employers Urged to Implement Safety Measures to Prevent Workplace Injuries during the Holiday Season’s Major Sales Events

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director

Retail employers need to be aware of the potential hazards of managing large crowds during the holiday season and throughout the year when major sales events attract a high volume of shoppers.

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, the only authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center in Northern California, is calling on retail employers to implement safety measures to prevent workplace injuries during the holiday season’s major sales events. As the volume of sales and shoppers rapidly expands, retailers are strongly encouraged to develop a crowd management plan and to follow a few simple guidelines to prevent unnecessary harm to their employees.

“Retail employers need to be aware of the potential hazards of managing large crowds during the holiday season and throughout the year when major sales events attract a high volume of shoppers,” says Cari Elofson, Assistant Director of the OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “We are urging retailers to implement basic crowd management planning to prevent avoidable injuries or worse to their employees and shoppers.”

Crowd management planning should begin in advance of events that are likely to draw large crowds, and pre-event setup and emergency situation management should be part of event planning. Key elements of an effective crowd management plan include:

  •     Trained security personnel, police officers and/or additional retail staff trained in crowd management as needed;
  •     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; and
  •     Not blocking or locking exit doors or routes.

For more information on crowd management during special sales and promotional events, see the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s fact sheet, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers. Thoughtful planning and implementation of an effective crowd management action plan can greatly reduce the potential hazards of major sales events and help ensure a safe and happy holiday season for all.

About the OSHA Training Center

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards-based training for construction, maritime and general industry in Dublin, California, conveniently located in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards curriculum, environmental courses and customized on-site safety training. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Center website or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).

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Cari Elofson
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