Black Friday can be hectic for retailers, but it is important to ensure employees and customers remain safe during this shopping event.

Workplace violence prevention important during the holiday season

Workplace violence prevention planning often focuses on employee and former employee activities, but during the holiday season it can also include customers for retailers. Especially on Black Friday, which has gained notoriety for incidents involving consumers and retail employees, it is important to have a plan to keep both safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released guidelines for retailers that can help keep their employees safe from harm during peak holiday shopping events, such as Black Friday, and set a standard for general workplace violence prevention in this industry.

"During the hectic shopping season, retail workers should not be put at risk of injury or death," noted David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, in the report. "OSHA urges retailers to take the time to adopt a crowd management plan and follow a few simple guidelines to prevent unnecessary harm to retail employees."

OSHA recommends that you implement crowd control plans, including:

  • Having trained security personnel or police officers on-site.
  • Not using barricades or rope lines for pedestrians right in front of the store's entrance.
  • Implementing of crowd control measures well in advance of customers arriving at the store.
  • Establishing emergency procedures to address any potential dangers.
  • Explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public as well as employees.
  • Setting a maximum number of customers that are allowed to enter the store and enforcing this limit.
  • Ensuring all exits are unlocked and unblocked.

Larger companies expecting a rush during Black Friday, or simply looking to optimize workplace safety planning, can invest in business impact analysis and business continuity consulting to assist in these processes and ensure that every consideration is taken to ensure the safety of all this holiday season.