What’s the number one safety hazard in retail stores? Hint: It’s the same hazard that plagues just about every warehouse, restaurant, and public building. Falls. People are prone to falling on wet floors, slippery floors, uneven floors, and smooth floors. Workers fall off ladders, trip downstairs, fall backward lifting heavy boxes and lose their balance reaching for items that are far away.
Keep your employees and your merchandise safe on the retail floor.
- Start with the right floor plan or layout. Be sure you’re utilizing the space in the best possible way for both safety and sales. For example, place your inventory on shelves that are reachable without a ladder or a step-stool, not above people’s heads. If an employee has to reach for something, the chances of a fall increase. Make sure your aisles are wide enough to accommodate not only two people, but also the width of any shopping carts you provide for shoppers. Choose gondola shelving for retail displays when possible – it’s flexible and can be increased or decreased in width and height. If you’re not sure how to set up a safe space, touch base with one of the experienced MidAtlantic Store Fixtures design specialists for some ideas.
- Keep floors clean and clear of debris. Customers can trip over trash, electrical cords, and throw rugs. Make sure aisles are neat and organized.
- Beware of wet floors. Offer guests a place to put wet umbrellas upon entering the store, and an absorbent carpet on which to wipe wet feet. Wet shoes on a wood or linoleum floor can be hazardous.
- Use clothes racks that are stationary and stable. Make sure the hangers have room to move – that means not jamming 50 pairs of pants on a rack designed to hold 30. This is not only annoying to shoppers and probably poor marketing on your part, but it is also a tripping hazard when things fall off of hangers and get jumbled around on the floor.
- Check all displays for sharp corners or edges. This includes grid wall, metal shelving, gondola shelves, even wood cabinets. Be sure nothing can get caught on edges or poke into shoppers’ legs or arms.
- Keep displays separated from aisleways and high traffic areas. Place them strategically so shoppers can see the display, but can’t touch it. You’ll save hundreds of mannequin hands, arms, and feet, and probably keep the display intact longer.
- Check to shelve for load-bearing capacity. Make sure shelves aren’t sagging under the weight of the products or racks aren’t bowing in the middle due to too much hanging on them.
- Have fire extinguishers, cardiac defibrillators and first aid kits in a specifically identified case for emergency use. Train employees to use them.
- Create a safety plan for your employees that includes these and other safety tips for your specific store. Review it with employees quarterly, and watch your safe productivity increase and your accidents decrease.