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The biggest shopping day of the year is almost upon us once again. On Friday retailers across the country will offer large discounts across their stock in an effort to kick start the Christmas spending. Sales on Friday are expected to amount to over £1.39bn across the UK. Last year things got ugly in many stores across the UK as customers scuffled to get the best bargains. Police were called and people were injured. Some retailers have decided not to partake this year but for those who do we urge them to be prepared.

  • Traditionally retailers face much heavier footfalls than normal in their stores. They must carry out a proper risk assessment specific to Friday 27th November. They should identify hazards in light of such high numbers of customers. They should specifically identify trip hazards which may be difficult to see through crowds of people or any sharp edges that people may be pushed up against.
  • Stores may wish to invest in security personnel to manage crowds and only allow a certain number of people into the building. Additionally, ropes and barriers may prove useful to avoid too many people in one place which can not only cause crush or trample injuries but also ruin the customer experience.  Stores must have adequate systems for crowd control as the risk is highly foreseeable.
  • Staff should be properly trained and briefed on how to deal with such high customer numbers and be able to control the crowd. 
  • Stores should not breach their fire safety guidelines in terms of the number of individuals in the store, or certain parts of the store.
  • Stores should think about proper ventilation and temperature control.
  • Stores should ensure that their staff are protected and have a way of avoiding any situations of conflict.

Ultimately, it will be manic, frantic, exciting and very busy…but it can still be safe.

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