Tips to Prevent Slips, Trips, & Falls at Grocery Stores

Customer satisfaction means everything in the grocery store environment, and your customers' safety is tied directly to their overall shopping experience. Operating a grocery store safely means dealing with risks that are unique to that specific type of business and its operating processes. It is very important to have a plan and be proactive when managing these risks.
June 15, 2020 | Retail
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Tips To Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls at Your Store

Maybe it is raining outside and a customer tracks water throughout the produce section. Or ice has built up on the sidewalk in front of your store. Or, even more common, something gets spilled and you hear “clean-up in aisle 4”. Slip and falls can result in serious injury. From fractures related to the fall, or trauma to torso and limbs. Here are tips to help prevent slips, trips, and falls at your store.
By: Aaron S.
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.

Customer satisfaction means everything in the grocery store environment, and your customers' safety is tied directly to their overall shopping experience. Operating a grocery store safely means dealing with risks that are unique to that specific type of business and its operating processes. It is very important to have a plan and be proactive when managing these risks.

 

Listed below are several key points to preventing slips, trips, and falls in a grocery store business:

 

Key points to prevention

  • Keep walkways clean and clear.
  • Complete a safety walk of your area on a regular basis.
  • If you see something on the floor, pick it up.
  • If a job requires using a ladder, always use a ladder.
  • Watch where you are going and never run at work.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes for better traction.
  • Place low-profile, beveled-edge mats in high-hazard areas. Replace buckled mats or those with curled edges.
  • Place water-absorbent mats at entrances and use floor fans when necessary.
  • Monitor self-serve drink dispensing areas and use mats to catch spills.
  • Mop one side of an aisle or pathway at a time to allow room for passing. Use wet-floor signs and verbal communication to direct traffic.
  • Never leave a spill unattended and clean up immediately. Use a dry mop and place wet-floor signs when appropriate.
  • Identify and report localized spills. Prompt attention contains the spill and minimizes cleanup efforts.
  • Use ladders and stools properly. Regularly inspect them to ensure good condition. Keep hands free while climbing.
  • Keep walkways clear of any ice and snow. Use salt when necessary.
  • Use a proper cord cover to secure any extension cords or cables on the floor.
  • Make people aware of any steps or uneven flooring by clearly marking the area.

 

Employee responsibility

  • It is every employee's responsibility to provide a safe shopping experience for your customers.
  • It is also every employee's responsibility to maintain a safe working environment.
  • Once you become aware of a slip hazard, don’t leave it unattended until it is resolved.
  • Employees need to be aware of their surroundings and watch where they walk.
  • Some spills require multiple caution signs to properly warn customers.
  • Make sure all floor stacks are far enough away from any corner to ensure visibility.

 

Things to keep in mind

  • Oil-based liquids may require more abrasive cleaners to ensure they are properly cleaned.
  • Not all spills are wet. Products like dried beans or rice can be equally dangerous.
  • Having an organized stockroom creates a safe place to work and is a good business practice.
  • Items designed for safety, like floor mats, can become a hazard if not properly maintained and installed.
  • When moving or stocking freight on the sales floor, always ensure you don’t stack it too high.
  • Be careful when creating bulk stacks on the sales floor. Ensure they are sturdy.  

 

Areas within the store that are at risk for slips and require additional attention

  • Produce department
  • Floral department
  • Restrooms and drinking fountains
  • Ice cases
  • Entrances

 

Safety is no accident and requires everyone’s support and buy-in. Any safe retail business requires a culture of safety to be able to impact the challenges they face every day. This means everyone who is part of the business from the top down must understand what it takes to create a safe work environment and shopping experience. They must also be willing to never walk past a potential hazard without taking the time to stop and do something about it. Safety is truly everyone’s responsibility.

By: Aaron S.
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.