Today, we are continuing to get our battle-stations, excuse me, store management and employees ready for the pre-Black Friday and big Black Friday sales. Please pay heed to these OSHA guidelines:
- Barricades or rope lines should be set up well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
- Ensure that barricades are set up so that the line does not start right at the entrance to the store. This allows for orderly crowd management entry, and makes it possible to divide crowds into small groups for the purpose of controlling the entrance.
- Barricade lines should have an adequate number of breaks and turns at intervals to reduce the risk of customers pushing from the rear and maybe crushing others.
- Have designated workers to explain approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public, and direct them to lines or entrances.
- Outside personnel should have radios, cell phones or other ways to communicate with personnel inside the store, as well as emergency responders.
- Numbered wristbands or tickets might help earlier arriving customers with first access to sale items.
- Consider using Internet lottery for “hot” items.
- Provide public amenities including toilets, washbasins, water and shelter, if appropriate.
- Distribute pamphlets with store information and updated sales items within the store to customers waiting outside.
- Remind waiting crowds of the entrance process your business has chosen.
During the Sales Event:
- Be sure all employees and crowd control personnel are aware that the doors are about to open.
- Have uniformed guards, police, or other personnel at the entrances.
- Use a P.A. system or bullhorns to manage the entering crowd and communicate information or problems.
- Position security or crowd managers to the sides of entering (or exiting) public, not in the center of their path.
- These entry management measures should be used at all entrances.
- Do not allow additional customers to enter the store once it has reached maximum occupancy, until the level drops.
- Be sure there is a safe entrance for those with disabilities.
- Do not restrict egress, and do not block or lock exit doors.
- Know in advance who to call for emergency medical response.
- Instruct employees, in the event of an emergency to follow instructions from authorized first responders, regardless of company rules.
We hope retailers will be totally prepared for the onslaught of shoppers who hope to grab some bargains. Any employees should not be at risk for injury any time they are working. There are many dangerous occupations in this world, and I am beginning to wonder if this wouldn’t rank right up there with some of the toughest during this holiday season! Shop friendly, and treat the sales people as kindly as you expect them to treat you.