Slips, trips and falls are among the most common forms of workplace injury across the U.S. Particularly in a grocery store, there are many reasons why an employee may experience a fall. Employees who sustain an injury on the site of their grocery store job may be eligible for workers’ compensation. In fact, almost 1 out of every 6 workplace injuries that result in lost-time injuries are the result of slips, trips and falls! Even worse, the majority of these injuries happen on “same-level” walking surfaces, which means that stairs and ramps are usually not at fault.
However, preventing injury before it happens is the first goal. In order to prevent grocery store falls, employees should report unsafe situations immediately, and employers must require adequate footwear.
What employees can do
Cleaning up spills immediately is a must, whether they happen where the customers are or in the warehouse. Grocery stores have a variety of substances that can be hazardous if spilled, such as slippery food, oil and soap. In addition, keeping the walkways as clear as possible is of paramount importance.
Employees should follow all reasonable safety precautions and heed caution signs where they exist. They should also take care to close all drawers after using them, given that it is very easy to trip over these if they are open.
What the employer must do
The employer must facilitate a safe grocery store environment by ensuring that all employees have adequate safety training. Employers should also mandate that employees wear appropriate footwear with closed-toes and traction.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so unless alcohol or horseplay is part of the equation, benefits should cover an injured worker’s medical bills and a portion of lost wages.