Supermarkets' Responsibilities - With Thousands of Visitors Shops Must Have High Safety Standards

in Accident

The main research body for the UK grocery market, the IGD, estimate there are over 55,000 supermarkets and convenience stores across the country. Supermarkets alone employ some 750,000 British workers, as well as welcoming tens of millions of shoppers to their premises each week. Supermarket owners are legally obliged to hold liability insurance to cover them in the event of injuries to their ‘lawful visitors’, both customers and staff. They must take all ‘reasonable measures’ to make their premises ‘reasonably safe’ for such visitors. Where the negligence of a supermarket’s management or staff has caused an injury that was ‘reasonably foreseeable’, the owners may be sued, and if the claim is successful compensation will be awarded to the injured party.

Most accidents at supermarkets are caused by spillages that are not dealt with by cleaning staff within a reasonable time-frame. An efficient system of inspection and cleaning in public areas is critical to removing potential slipping hazards. These include dropped litter and spilled products, such as fruit, vegetables, milk and both hot and cold ready-to-eat snacks. Fridge and freezer units at supermarkets may leak if they are left open, or are not properly maintained. Slipping accidents are common when a floor surface has been recently cleaned, but is still wet and slippery. This may be inside a supermarket’s public bathrooms, or down one of the aisles. When such hazards cannot be dealt with immediately, staff should ensure that warning signs and barriers are positioned to protect visitors from the risk of slipping and injuring themselves.

Other examples of what is termed legally as ‘defective premises’ include discarded packaging in aisles, and damaged or uneven floor surfaces. A high percentage of accidents at supermarkets take place outside in car parks, particularly in winter when hospital admissions for slips on ice and snow soar. In freezing conditions grit, gravel and salt must be deployed to make outdoor surfaces as safe as possible for visitors. Raised concrete, broken drain covers and pot holes can also cause customers to fall and injure themselves in ‘reasonably foreseeable’ circumstances in supermarket car parks. Again, an efficient system of inspection and maintenance of supermarket premises should eliminate such hazards in a timely manner, before visitors are exposed to the risk of injury.

Falls at supermarkets regularly cause strains, sprains and tears to muscles, ligaments and tendons. More awkward falls, such as slips on ice or landing heavily against a static object, can cause fractures and broken bones, particularly among older people and children, whose bones are not as robust as those of a normal adult, and who are naturally more prone to accidents due to coordination problems and infirmity. Lacerations and bruises to the head and face may be caused by cans and similar heavy goods falling from poorly stacked shelves. This emphasises the importance of supervision of work at supermarkets, and proper training of staff to reduce as far as possible the number of accidents and injuries among visitors.

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Harry Marldon has 35 articles online

Harry Marldon explains that if you were injured in a shop you could claim compensation. Clients who have slipped in supermarket should talk to a personal injury solicitor.

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Supermarkets' Responsibilities - With Thousands of Visitors Shops Must Have High Safety Standards

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Supermarkets' Responsibilities - With Thousands of Visitors Shops Must Have High Safety Standards

This article was published on 2012/02/20