Holiday Season Retail Safety Checklist
How to protect employees and visitors during the busiest shopping days of the year.
By mid-afternoon of Black Friday 2008, media outlets nationwide reported the same heartbreaking story: An elderly employee of a mega-retailer had been trampled to death by a mob of unruly shoppers. Since that time, retailers have committed to improving safety for both employees and shoppers during the busy sales events of the winter holiday season.
The following Black Friday Safety Checklist draws vital information from Federal safety agencies and is intended to help storefront owners effectively manage crowds of customers. With a bit of proactive preparation, retailers can take positive steps to ensure the tragic events of Friday, November 28th are never repeated.
Review OSHA’s Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an online reference for all retailers to provide tips for preventing in-store accidents and injuries during busy sales events. Effective crowd management, according to OSHA, is critical in preventing accidents and fatal injuries.
Planning for the Event
Whether planning for Black Friday or prepping for large December crowds, OSHA recommends retailers take the following precautions:
1. Examine all major points of entry. Determine where the largest inflow and outflow of shoppers will occur, and station additional employees or security personnel as needed.
2. Verify the property’s compliance with all safety codes and requirements. This is most efficiently done by contacting local fire, police, and other municipality authorities.
3. To improve emergency response, designate one specific employee per shift to be responsible for contacting the police, EMTs, or the fire department in the case of an emergency.
Setting Up for the Event
As the day of the sales event draws closer, OSHA recommends retailers pay close attention to the following issues and challenges while prepping the store:
1. Use posts, stanchions, and crowd control devices to create queues that will control the crowd as they enter the store. Create similar crowd control systems to sort shoppers into lines so they may make their purchase and exit the premises quickly and efficiently.
2. Designate employees to serve as Greeters, directing the public to specific line queues and/or points of entry as they arrive to the store.
3. Inside, display special sale items in a designated area that is easily accessible and clearly marked. This will reduce overcrowding in certain areas, and it will help shoppers find popular items quickly.
During the Big Day
Of course, special precautions must be taken on the day of the sales event. This is when crowds of customers will surge the aisles of the store, making it imperative that all employees, staff, and security personnel work together to ensure everyone’s safety. OSHA recommends retailers consider the following safety guidelines:
1. Designate a special entrance area for employees so personnel can enter and leave the premises freely. Station security personnel at the employee entrance to prevent public use.
2. Position uniformed security personnel at all points of major entry. Staff additional police, if needed. Positioning these trained professionals in highly visible areas will both discourage aggression among shoppers while also promoting feelings of safety.
3. Carefully monitor customer inflow, and do not let additional shoppers enter the premises after maximum occupancy is reached.
Read the Full OSHA Report
The items above are just a small sample of a much larger report that OSHA has produced to help retailers control crowds and maintain safety during sales events this year. For the full report, including additional tips on responding to emergency situations, visit the complete Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers.
Umbrella Bagger: Committed to a Safe Shopping Experience
Umbrella Bagger stands committed to helping retailers create a safe shopping experience this holiday season.
In addition to following OSHA recommendations for effective crowd management, retailers are invited to learn more about slip and fall prevention with wet umbrella bag stands. Proactively prevent rain and snow puddles to keep entryways clean, dry, and safe through major sales events and days of inclement weather.
To learn more, call Umbrella Bagger Client Services at 855-328-8100.