DLLR Urges Retailers to Take Safety Precautions for "Black Friday"


BALTIMORE (11/23/09)-- With the busiest shopping day of the year just four days away, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is urging retailers to take greater safety precautions at "Black Friday" promotional events to avoid injuries. The death of a worker who was trampled by customers in New York last year highlighted the need for extra attention to crowd control issues.

"We want to work with businesses to make sure this special day is as safe as possible for everyone, particularly when large numbers of shoppers are lining up to take advantage of limited-time sales," said Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner of DLLR's Division of Labor and Industry.

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH), which is part of the Division of Labor and Industry, has adopted guidelines to help employers and store owners avoid injuries during the holiday shopping season, or other events where large crowds may gather. Ideally, crowd control planning should begin days, weeks or even months before events that are likely to draw large crowds, and these plans should include crowd control, pre-event setup, and emergency situation management.

MOSH recommends that crowd control plans includes the following elements.

  • Where large crowds are expected, have trained security or crowd management personnel or police officers on site.
  • Ensure that employees are properly trained to manage the event and anticipated crowd.
  • Set up barricades or rope lines for crowd control well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
  • Make sure that barricades are set up so that the customers' line does not start right at the entrance to the store.
  • Make sure all employees and crowd control personnel are aware that the doors are about to open.
  • Use a public address system or bullhorns to manage the entering crowd and to communicate information or problems.
  • Know in advance who to call for emergency medical response.
  • Instruct employees, in the event of an emergency, to follow instructions from first responders, regardless of company rules.

View a complete list of MOSH's recommendations.