Why Customers in Big-Box Stores Are at Significant Risk of Injury
Big-box stores, those retail warehouses offering a wide array of products, have become a staple of the modern shopping experience. Their immense size and extensive selection serve to draw in hordes of customers daily. While these outlets offer convenience and variety, they also pose unique dangers of slips and falls and other mishaps.
Here is a summary of reasons why customers are at enhanced risk of injury in large retail stores:
- High customer traffic — One of the primary factors contributing to slip and fall accidents in big-box stores is the sheer volume of shoppers looking to buy everything from groceries to electronics. More people moving through the store means a higher chance of spills, debris and other hazards.
- Thin and inexperienced staff — These stores are largely self-help outlets. There are relatively few employees and those there are seem always busy moving and stocking merchandise. This leaves customers to roam unsupervised and sometimes to take risks. In addition, the employees usually have minimal training and their conduct may create hazards.
- High shelves and stacks— Merchandise on tall shelves may invite customers to reach for it, which in turn can lead to imbalance and falling objects. In addition, boxes of merchandise are often stacked high on the sales floor, which creates the danger of them tumbling over.
- Shopping carts and trolleys — These conveyances can be challenging to maneuver, and accidents may occur when they collide with other shoppers or display items..
- Aisle obstructions — Shopping aisles can become congested due to stock pallets, carts and equipment left by staff. There can also be wires, cords and other obstructions to navigate.
- Frequent restocking and cleaning — Keeping shelves stocked and the sales floor clean are non-stop operations. However, equipment and cleaning implements might be left on the floor or areas under maintenance might not be adequately marked off.
- Slippery floors — Some big-box stores opt for glossy or polished flooring materials, which can become dangerously slippery when wet. Spills or tracked-in moisture can create hazardous conditions, increasing the risk of slips and falls.
- Weather conditions — In poor weather, shoppers may track in rain, snow, or mud from outside. This can create slippery conditions in the store and can lead to accidents if the store does not provide adequate flooring mats or take other precautions.
- Poor lighting — In certain areas of big-box stores, lighting may be insufficient, making it difficult for customers to see potential hazards. Poorly lit areas can significantly increase the risk of slip and fall accidents.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident on dangerous, unsafe or negligently maintained retail premises, call Pulverman & Pulverman, LLP at 805.259.3581 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.