The main reason for the high level of shop and supermarket accidents is that they are are stocked with a variety of items where breakages and spilt goods are sometimes unavoidable.
They are also usually very busy places with goods and packaging constantly being transported by staff around the store all whilst customers are busy shopping.
Health & Safety
Like all business there are strict health & safety rules that companies and shops have to adhere to, this is especially true for supermarkets, to ensure that the risk of injury to both customers and staff is kept to a minimum.
As every shop and supermarket has a duty of care towards their customers risk assessments must be regularly carried out and managed respectively. Any potential risks that are identified need to be addressed and rectified without delay.
Due to the number of people who pass through a busy shop or supermarket it is essential that health and safety procedures are maintained across the store.
In addition to keeping abreast of health & safety requirements, shop owners and managers need to be aware of the different needs and requirements for certain types of people such as the elderly, disabled and children who are not as aware of potential hazards as adults are.
Due to shop floors normally being hard surfaces any fall will potentially be painful and result in an injury.
Common causes of supermarket accidents
- Inadequate awareness (cones/signs) to public of a slip hazard.
- Liquids spilt from damaged goods and packaging.
- Glass from dropped bottles and jars.
- Packaging and boxes unattended in isles.
- Fruit and vegetable produce that is loose and fallen on the floor.
- Spilt food from dried food packaging.
- Stock that has been badly stacked on shelves.
- Shopping trolleys that are faulty.
- Broken shelving.
- Large containers being handled by staff
- Tripping and falling on damaged flooring.
- Slipping on wet floor caused by weather outside.
- Colliding with industrial cleaners operated by cleaning staff.
Store owners responsibilities
The majority of shop and supermarkets have thorough cleaning and maintenance schedules in place. It’s obviously in the best interest for any store to be clean and inviting for customers regardless of safety issues.
However it is the shop owner’s duty to ensure the shop or supermarket is as safe as practically possible. Cleaning schedules should be maintained and anything that is discovered by staff or customers that is likely to cause injury should be notified to the store managers immediately.
The store owners would not be held responsible for an injury caused by an accident where the particular area had been inspected and cleaned just prior to the accident occurring, if they were unaware of any danger or risk.
It is important to note that a shop or supermarket can only be held accountable for any accident injury if they were aware of the danger and took no action to rectify or prevent the accident from happening.
One of the biggest problems a supermarket faces is keeping the shop entrance dry when it’s raining. With a large number of people entering the store with wet feet and clothing this can cause the entrance floor to become wet causing it to become a slipping hazard.
The supermarket must have adequate matting at the store entrance not only to remove dirt from customers shoes but to also absorb any water in order to minimise the chances of a slipping accident.
Accordingly staff should be on hand especially in heavy weather conditions to mop up any excess water and dirt and ensure any matting is in the correct positions.
Whilst it is the responsibility of shop owners to do everything possible to reduce the risk of accidents and injury to customers, with the sheer volume of people entering a busy supermarket it is unreasonable to expect floors to be kept completely dry and hazard free.
‘Wet floor’ sign should be visible, however there is some onus of responsibility on customers to be aware of certain risks and hazards and recognise potential dangers.
Following an accident in a shop or supermarket
If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident in a shop or supermarket you should:
- Get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Take details of any witnesses to the accident
- Make sure the incident is reported in the stores accident book.
If you feel that your injuries were caused by the neglect or carelessness of the people responsible for maintaining safety in the shop or supermarket where you have been injured then please call us today for free legal advice on whether or not you have a claim for compensation.
You will be able to speak directly to a qualified personal injury solicitor who will be able to assess the prospects of your injury claim, and offer advice and assistance on what to do next.