During the holiday season, stores and malls become busier than usual, making shopping a difficult and sometimes dangerous task. Slips and falls can occur in an ice coated parking lot, in puddles at the entryway of busy stores, or even around a cluttered display area of discounted or must-have items. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slips and falls account for over 1 million of E.R. visits each or about 12% of all types of falls. When you are out and about, enjoying the fast-paced holiday shopping season, don’t make let your last minute purchases become a “holiday ruining” slip and fall accident injury.
Provide a Safe Shopping Zone
Whether patrons are shopping for cookie baking ingredients or a sweater for your grandfather, it’s important that the store is safe and free from obstructions that can trip shoppers or make them slip and fall. The holiday shopping season can increase store traffic, making it more difficult to stay on top of maintenance and/or cleaning, but it’s important to make a shopper’s environment a safe environment. If you work in a store, whether you are a general manager, a member of the maintenance crew, or a cashier, it’s essential that you work together as a team and keep your eyes peeled for potentially hazardous shopping conditions. While you may already have strict safety and cleanliness guidelines in your establishment, it’s important to remember a couple of these safety tips to prevent slip and fall accidents:
Clean up puddles as soon as possible. Check entryways, aisles, and areas with coolers, freezers, and other equipment that may leak. To ensure that the floor is dry and slip-proof, thoroughly clean the area, mark with appropriate signage (i.e. “Caution: Wet Floors), and run a heater or fan to dry the area quickly. Additionally, make sure that walkways in front of your establishment are properly salted or sanded if there are icy spots in front of the store. A slip and fall, even outside (on your property) can be your responsibility.
Eliminate or cover long cords. During the holiday season, you may find that you need extra cords for holiday decorations, lights, or entryway heaters. If the cords are not secured, they can become a tripping/falling hazard.
When your establishment is busy, it may be more difficult to put inventory away in a timely matter. If you have just received a large delivery, but have also been “slammed” with business, make sure that boxes, pallets, and other inventory is not blocking aisles or major walkways.
Do the Right Thing, Take Initiative. Even if it’s not your job to clean up a spill or move “falling” hazards out of the way, it’s vital to take initiative and let someone know of the potentially hazardous conditions.