This case involves a man who was injured when several boxes fell from a mounted floor display as he was selecting one. As he went to select one of the boxes on the top shelf, several of them follow causing him to suffer severe lacerations to his arm and shoulders. The man required several subsequent surgeries to correct his injuries. It was alleged that the display was too heavy for a customer to hold or position back into place. A retail safety expert was sought to review the case and opine on proper display and stacking protocols.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in retail safety, specifically as it pertains to display design and stacking procedures.
- 2. What safety precautions can be taken when designing stacked product displays to prevent incidents such as the one described?
Expert Witness Response E-004539
I have 35+ years of retail design, display design, and maintenance experience for major retailers and I am very familiar with the industry standards. Based on the over 15 cases in which I represented the plaintiff against Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, and Sams, the issue that needs to be addressed is if the retailer provided a reasonably safe and hazard free environment for its customers to shop. Big Box and industry standard training and safety manuals are specific to address the procedures and protocol required to maintain a safe and hazard free store when loading and displaying products at all times. Associates are all required to perform routine 30
minute to 60-minute floor sweeps and inspections during operating hours. Employees should be trained on the proper methods of loading product onto displays and department supervisors should oversee their staff loading of product, as well as inspect daily the actual displays for defects, improper product placement and housekeeping due to customers upsetting the presentation. In addition, safety committees consisting of store staff should meet weekly or monthly to discuss safety issues, prior incidents as to what caused them, and how those issues were resolved.”