As a retailer, it’s vital to keep your premises as safe and secure as possible for not only your customers, but also your employees. We all know the old adage, “prevention is better than cure” and this definitely applies to your retail space. It’s much better to prevent slips, trips and falls in the first place, than have clients and workers suffer the consequences, which could be bruising, sprains, muscle pulls or tears, broken bones or worse. With claims for slips, trips and other injuries on the increase, here are some handy hints to help prevent accidents from occurring on your premises.

Be Aware Of Potential Hazards

Many injuries can be averted if the right steps are taken, which actually involves being aware of potential hazards and putting prevention techniques into place.  Making your retail space safe is ultimately down to you and there are several key areas that should be checked on a regular basis.

Check Floors Regularly

Floors are certainly areas that should be monitored frequently for risks and dangers. Spilled liquids are a frequent cause of slips and it’s not just obvious contenders such as grease, oil or soap that can cause a trip or a fall, as water can be just as dangerous. Ensure that you or members of your team are on the look out for possible floor conditions that could result in a slip or a trip.

Typical slip or trip hazards

  • Wet or polished floors
  • Food or liquid spills creating a slippery floor
  • Worn or frayed carpets
  • Uneven flooring
  • Different types of flooring adjacent to each other
  • Flooring that is in poor condition
  • Chipped or cracked tiles

Don’t Block Stairs, Walkways, Aisles And Corridors

Stairs, aisles and walkways are other areas which must be regularly checked. It’s important not to block stairs and high-traffic areas with objects which could be tripped over. Monitor steps and stairs and ensure they are not wobbly or loose and are clearly indicated, and all furniture and fittings should be secure and well anchored without sharp and jagged edges.

Perils to avoid

  • Exposed wiring and cabling
  • Sharp edges
  • Boxes and articles lying around
  • Shop floor fittings
  • Badly built or poorly designed staircases
  • Obstructed stairs, aisles, walkways and corridors

Actions To Take

If maintenance work is going on and contractors are on site, ensure that the area is completely sealed off and guarded so that clients and employees cannot gain access. Also have warning signs in place of any potential hazards or dangers. This also applies if any cleaning is in progress. In general, adhering to the following good practice can help to minimise accidents on your premises:

  • Routinely check for hazards
  • Install non-slip flooring and carpeting
  • Clean and clear up spills immediately
  • Secure all mats and carpets
  • Ensure floor coverings are in a state of good repair
  • Provide handrails on stairs
  • Use high-traction treads on stairs
  • Pick up dropped items and clutter
  • Install good and bright lighting

What to do in the event of an accident

Despite the best of intentions, accidents and near misses can still happen from time to time. If one occurs:

  • Make sure it is recorded in your Accident Book
  • Take photos of the scene
  • Take the details of any witnesses to the incident
  • If CCTV is available, retain the footage for further investigation


Whilst it is important to be aware of potential dangers, it is also vital that you act quickly when any are identified, and that your employees are trained to do the same. Ensure all training records are logged, signed and dated. Taking extra precautions, being aware of dangers and responding quickly to potential risks can all help to reduce the likelihood of your clients and employees sustaining injuries, which is good for you, good for your customers and ultimately good for business.

If you are looking for cover for your retail business for slips, trips and other injuries you should consider taking out public liability and employers’ liability. To find out more about how The Retail Mutual can help to protect you, your independent business and your home, or for a free, no-obligation quote, call 0333 2121 280 today or start your quote online.

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