Published: November 22, 2010 | Country: United States
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The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently sent letters to 14 of the nation’s largest retailers, urging them to take the necessary precautions to ensure employee safety during the holiday season, particularly during “Black Friday” sales events.
"Unfortunately, there have been instances during recent "Black Friday" shopping events where both customers and employees have suffered serious injury, and even death,” cautioned Mac Nadel, Marsh Retail/Wholesale, Food & Beverage Practice Leader. “We believe that the tips put out by OSHA apply to any retailer running promotional shopping events, at any time during the year, regardless of the size of that retailer."
Retailers should develop a written program outlining the requirements and guidelines of the company’s crowd control program. The site-specific plan should address potential dangers facing employees, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, being struck by the crowd, violent acts, and fire.
"Companies should not underestimate the value of written, practiced, and well-communicated crowd control, emergency response, and crisis management programs,” noted Jeff Sizemore, a senior safety professional in Marsh Risk Consulting’s (MRC) Workforce Strategies. “It is also important that such plans account for coordination with local enforcement and trained security or crowd management personnel. Taking these steps will help to ensure the safety of retail employees and the general public.”
MRC’s Workforce Strategies and Crisis Management teams can help retailers define their in-store loss control and safety program needs, and design effective programs at the store level.