Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing their workers with safe and healthy workplaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has prepared a number of guidelines to help employers and store owners avoid injuries during the holiday shopping season, or other events where large crowds may gather. Highlights include the following:


  • Where large crowds are expected, hire additional staff as needed and Crowd Controlhave trained security or crowd management personnel or police officers on site.
  • Create a detailed staffing plan that designates a location for each worker. Determine the number of workers that are needed in various locations to ensure the safety of the event (e.g., near the door entrances and throughout the store).
  • Prepare an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers facing workers, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, being struck by the crowd, violent acts, and fire.

Pre-Event Setup

  • Set up barricades or rope lines for crowd management 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. This will make it possible to divide crowds into small groups for the purpose of controlling entrance.
  • Ensure that 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.

During the Sales Event

  • Provide a separate store entrance for staff. Provide door monitors there to prevent crowd entry.
  • Make sure that all employees and crowd control personnel are aware that the doors are about to open.
  • Staff entrances with uniformed guards, police or other authorized personnel. Do not allow additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level.

Emergency Situations

  • Do not restrict exits, 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.

Additional Information

You may review the guidance for additional crowd management safety guidelines. Our section on Safety & Wellness includes more tips for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

And don't forget to download our FREE ACA by Company Size Chart to simplify and clarify the many different requirements under Health Care Reform that companies of all sizes should know about.


Image Credit: Sai89AJ

Topics: Employee Health and Wellness, Employee Safety

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