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OSHA issues safety guidelines for Black Friday retailers

Posted On: Nov. 17, 2011 12:00 AM CST

OSHA issues safety guidelines for Black Friday retailers

WASHINGTON—With retailers gearing up for Black Friday sales next week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidelines to protect retail workers from being injured by holiday crowds.

In a tip sheet posted Thursday, OSHA said workplace injuries during jam-packed holiday sales have increased, and cited the 2008 death of an employee trampled by Black Friday shoppers.

OSHA's tips include designating workers to contact emergency personnel if needed during holiday promotions, using an Internet lottery system for popular items that could cause shopper scuffles, and using bullhorns or other public address systems to communicate with crowds.

“Crowd management planning should begin in advance of events that are likely to draw large crowds, and crowd management, pre-event setup and emergency situation management should be part of event planning," OSHA said in the statement.

In a holiday-related Internet broadcast, OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels encouraged major retailers to provide crowd-control personnel and barricades to help manage eager shoppers during holiday promotions.