U.S. Department of Labor
Assistant Secretary for
Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, D.C. 20210
November 8, 2013
As the holiday season is approaching, I am writing today to remind you how critical it is to take safety precautions to protect workers who may be injured during the holiday season's major sales events, such as Black Friday sales, or at other events where large crowds may gather. 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.
Under the federal law (the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) which created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are responsible for providing a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious injury or death. Enclosed please find an OSHA Fact Sheet entitled, "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers," which contains safety guidelines that your retail stores may adopt in addition to your own safety procedures. In addition, please be sure to maintain appropriate access to exit routes and ensure that exits are not blocked.
With thoughtful planning and implementation of an effective crowd management action plan and maintaining emergency exits free of obstructions, we all can have a safe and happy holiday season. If you have any questions, please 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