This case involves a man in his late 40s who sustained a back injury due to a slip and fall in a grocery store. The incident took place on a snowy day. A puddle of melted snow had accumulated in the walkway, and there were wet carts by the registers as well. As the plaintiff was walking by, she slipped on the puddle and fell, causing a severe back injury. The manager of the store alleged that the carts were placed there for the store’s cart exchange program which allowed baggers to unload, bag, and reload purchases more efficiently. An expert in grocery store management was sought to speak to employee training and operational standards of care when dealing with inclement weather.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please explain your experience in grocery store operations and management.
- 2. What is the standard of care when it comes to inclement weather planning, with particular regards to carts?
- 3. What could have been done to prevent this situation from happening?
Expert Witness Response E-060649
I have 20 years of experience in retail safety, loss prevention, and store operations. I have served as senior director of safety for a company that operates 70 warehouses and 100+ retail grocery locations. During inclement weather it is of critical importance that all walking surfaces are kept free and clear of snow ice and excessive water accumulation. Store management should be monitoring the front end of the store, including the entry and exit points, the vestibule, and the checkout lanes. Carts that have accumulated snow and ice need to be staged in a covered area, if possible, and an employee is generally responsible for ensuring carts are put away in the proper areas. Any damaged carts are placed out of service. During inclement weather, it generally is the responsibility of the front end manager to ensure water, ice, and snow do not accumulate. Employees should be instructed to notify management of any hazardous situation that could pose a risk to a customer or employee. Some companies use an audit system to ensure common areas like vestibules, restrooms, and check out areas are hazard-free.