November 14, 2012
I am writing this letter to re-emphasize how critical it is to consider the safety of employees and customers during the upcoming holiday retail season. As you may know, a worker was trampled to death four years ago, as shoppers rushed through a retailer's doors to take advantage of an after Thanksgiving Day "Black Friday" sales event.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly encourages retailers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during the holiday season's major sales events, or at other events where large crowds may gather.
Enclosed is an OSHA Fact Sheet entitled, "Crowd Management Safety Tips for Retailers." We encourage that employers and retail store owners use these safety guidelines, in addition to their own procedures, when crowds are expected this holiday season.
Under the federal law (the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) which created OSHA, employers are responsible for providing a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious injury or death. We recommend that employers and retail store owners adopt a plan that includes, at a minimum, the elements outlined in the fact sheet.
If you have any questions, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or contact your local OSHA Area Office. Thank you for your attention to this urgent worker safety matter.
David Michaels, PhD, MPH