Customer Slips on Spilled Merchandise in Big-Box Retail Store

Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case takes place in North Carolina and involves a slip and fall at Costco, a big box retail store. The plaintiff had taken her young daughter grocery shopping in the store, and was browsing an aisle which contained canned and jarred foods. Due to an earlier accident that occurred while the shelves were being restocked, there was a patch of floor covered in a layer of fish oil. Because there were no signs or notifications warning customers about the spill, the plaintiff was unaware of the presence of the oil on the floor. As a result, the plaintiff slipped on the oil, suffering a range of permanent injuries including brain damage. She will require a lifetime of ongoing care and there is very little chance of her condition improving.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have knowledge of the safety protocols in place at big box stores to prevent slip/trip and fall accidents?
  • 2. Do you have experience of the preventative measures that should be taken to avoid such accidents?

Expert Witness Response E-008527

Expert-ID: E-008527

I have 30+ years in the retail supermarket business, as a clerk, Manager, Supervisor, and District Manager, and approximately seven years as Division Safety Director. I have extensive knowledge of Best Practice Protocols for customer safety in the retail supermarket industry, so I am very familiar with protocol in big box retail locations like the one in this case. I have plenty of experience in preventative measures that are part of the customer safety policies in the retail business. I started my own safety consulting firm officially in 2012, where I assist companies in OSHA intervention, OSHA compliance, safety training for employees, protocols for customer safety and indoor air quality issues. In cases like these, the failure to maintain a safe shopping environment is almost always linked to a lapse in training, protocol, or employee negligence. Generally, regular sweeps of the aisles by store staff should be conducted to identify and address any possible spills, and spills should be cleaned immediately.


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