shopping-mall-crowdsAs the volume of shoppers expands during the upcoming holiday season and potential hazards increase, OSHA is reminding retail employers to implement safety measures to prevent injuries and manage large crowds effectively.  Implementing a crowd management plan can greatly reduce the risk of unnecessary harm to retail employees and shoppers.

In order to assist retailers in developing a plan to manage crowds, OSHA has published a helpful fact sheet, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers.

Where large crowds are expected, OSHA urges retailers to hire additional staff, ensure that workers are properly trained to manage crowds and have trained security or police officers on site.  Based on the size of the crowd expected, retailers should determine the number of workers that are needed in various locations near the entrances and throughout the store to ensure the safety of shoppers and employees.

According to OSHA’s safety guidelines, additional key elements of an effective crowd management plan include:

  • Implementing crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store;
  • Preparing an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers, including overcrowding, crushing, violent acts and fire;
  • Training workers in how to execute the emergency plan.

Thoughtful planning and implementation of effective crowd management can greatly reduce the potential hazards of holiday shopping and help prevent avoidable injuries or worse to retail employees and customers.