Vector image of a woman slipping on a floor despite sign warning of wet surfaces

Contributed By Kaivac

Grocery store professionals know spills can cause slip and fall accidents. Very often, these are the result of breakable liquid items falling on the floor. However, there are several ways moisture can also find its way onto grocery store floors, which can be just as dangerous. 

Among the most common ways are the following: 

- Leaking refrigeration equipment

- Melting snow and ice during the winter season

- Cranky children spilling drinks

- Moisture build-up from produce misters 

- Water-line leaks to these misters

Further, spills can be costly. The National Floor Safety Institute, which tracks slip and fall accidents in the United States, reports the following:   

- Slips account for over 1 million hospital emergency room visits each year

- Slips and falls are the primary cause of lost workdays

- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims

- Medical costs for employee slip and falls is more than $70 billion annually

- Legal fees defending against slip and fall claims cost an average of $50,000 per incident.

While we may not be able to prevent spills and moisture from getting on to grocery store floors, steps can be taken to clean them up quickly to help prevent accidents. These include:

- Placing warning cones around the immediate spill area and as much as 10 feet from the incident

- Forcing staff  to wear work gloves designed to protect hands from broken glass before cleanup

- Making sure workers do not wear dress shoes; many spills contain oils that can cause the soles of dress shoes to become very slippery

- Avoiding the use of mops; mops spread oil, debris, and moisture to a larger floor area, increasing the chances for slips and falls to occur

- Selecting battery-powered alternatives to mops such as “dispense-and-vac” or “uni-vac” systems

- Leaving warning cones around the immediate spill area for 15 minutes to ensure the area is now clean and dry