OSHA regulating Black Friday sales

Crowd management, emergency procedures expected at stores

HOUSTON - Ahead of Black Friday, stores were stepping up safety measures to comply with federal regulations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration now enforces how retailers handle chaotic shoppers surging through the doors in hopes of finding the best deals.

"OSHA has now taken the position, whether or not you're a retailer or you're in the petrochemical industry or some other industry that they have historically regulated, that you're on notice," said Houston attorney Collin Warren.

Warren has several retail clients for the Adams and Reese Law Firm. He said the new rules require crowd management and emergency procedures.

"You tell the clients that what OSHA expects is for you to evaluate the workplace, to remove any kind of recognized hazards, that you implement a plan and that you train your employees," said Warren.

Shoppers can expect tighter restrictions, including being handed a number outside a store to see who gets inside first. The new rules may cut back on the chaotic push through the door.

Stores without those plans in place could possibly face six-figure fines.

KPRC Local 2 contacted OSHA inspectors for the Houston area, but they declined to comment on whether they are actually visiting some of the stores when the doors open Thursday night.

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