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Crowd Safety Measures Important During Holiday Season, Notes ASSE

Posted in on Tue, Nov 22, 2011

DES PLAINES, IL (November 22, 2011) – The American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Service Branch noted the importance of crowd management planning in light of the holiday shopping season as a way to ensure safety for shoppers, employees and others. Planning, pre-event setup and management during the sales event were discussed in the recent edition of the @ Your Service newsletter provided for ASSE’s occupational safety, health and environmental professional members.

“As huge shopping crowds are expected this week at many retailers it is important to note that all employers are responsible for providing their workers with safe and healthy workplaces,” ASSE Vice President of the Council on Practices and Standards George Pearson, CSP, ARM, of Richmond, VA, noted.  “Businesses should adopt effective safety and health management systems now to identify and eliminate work-related hazards, including those caused by large crowds, such as those expected during ‘black Friday’  at retail events. This will help prevent injuries not only to the shoppers, but workers as well.”

Some of the tips suggested in the article and provided by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to help plan before and during the event include:

  • · Begin crowd management and planning well in advance of the event
  • · Have trained security or crowd management personnel on site
  • · Ensure that workers are properly trained to manage the event
  • · Contact local fire and police agencies to determine if the event site meets all public safety requirements, etc.
  • · Provide legible and visible signs that describe entrance locations, store opening times and other important information
  • · Prepare an emergency plan
  • · Train workers in crowd management procedures and the emergency plan
  • · Set up barricades and, it is recommended, set them up so the customers’ line does not start right at the entrance to the store
  • · Ensure barricade lines have an adequate number of breaks and turns at regular intervals to reduce the risk of customers pushing from the rear and possibly crushing others, including workers
  • · Provide outside personnel with radios or another way to communicate with personnel inside the store and emergency responders
  • · Before opening remind waiting crowds of the entrance process
  • · During the event 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
  • · Provide a safe entrance for people with disabilities
  • · Do not restrict egress and do not block or lock exit doors
  • · Keep first-aid kits and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available, and have personnel trained in using AEDs and CPR onsite

Go the @ Your Service article titled “OSHA Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers” at for the full list of suggestions.


Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest safety society. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information go to and to more crowd safety tips at

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413,

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