U.S. Department of Labor

Assistant Secretary for
Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, D.C. 20210

DOL Seal

November 12, 2014

Dear Fire Marshal/Fire Chief:

I am writing this letter to inform you that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently sent letters to some retailers where large crowds can be expected during the holiday season's major sales events. As you may know, a worker was trampled to death few years ago as shoppers rushed through a retailer's doors to take advantage of an after Thanksgiving Day "Black Friday" sales event.

The letters encourage retailers and store owners to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during the sales events or at other events where large crowds may gather. The letters also encourage them to use the safety guidelines provided in an OSHA Fact Sheet entitled, "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers," in addition to their own procedures. A copy of the Fact Sheet is enclosed. In addition, retailers are reminded to maintain appropriate access to exit routes and ensure that exits are not blocked.

I am sure you share our concern over these issues and our goal to ensure that crowd management plans and proper emergency exit measures are in place as this season approaches. We appreciate any assistance on your part to further distribute this information to those within your association who can assist in minimizing any loss of lives or injuries during these holiday sales events. Our work together in this effort will help ensure that we can all have a safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent worker safety matter.


David Michaels, PhD, MPH