Tips for Staying Safe This Shopping Season
We have all seen the videos that come after Black Friday- swarms of shoppers running through stores, falling over one another and numerous injuries being reported in the aftermath. Although most holiday shopping experiences are not that exaggerated, the threat to tripping, slipping and even falling in a store is very real. In fact, slips and falls result in over 20% of all emergency room visits, making them the number one cause of accidental injury. This is because humans are accident prone; it is just a fact of life. With slips and falls bound to happen, all we can do is limit the dangers and take precautionary measures. By being a knowledgeable shopper, it will help you avoid slip and fall dangers while out this holiday season. At Jessup, we have come up with a list of eight easy to follow tips to stay safe this holiday shopping season. Most of the suggested tips might seem like common sense, but can easily be overlooked. With over 8.7 million people injured from slip, trip and fall incidents every year in the United States, the threat is very real that if you don’t take precautionary measures to protect yourself, it could happen to you.
Tips for Staying Safe This Holiday Season
- Phone usage. This is two part tip and probably the most important tip. First, ensure that you have your emergency contacts easily accessible on your phone in case of an accident that requires medical attention. Second, put your phone down! Distracted walking is a real thing and happens more often than you might think. In fact, the Journal of Safety Research documented that over a 10-year period, distracted walking was responsible for more than 10,000 serious injuries. When you are walking around the store, keep your phone in your pocket. If you need to use your phone, step to the side and take the call or respond to texts.
- Don’t climb. If you want to purchase or view an item on a higher then reachable level, don’t resort to climbing the shelving or grabbing a store’s ladder to get it yourself. Find a store representative and they will be happy to help you in safely getting the item.
- Wear slip resistant shoes. When you take to the stores this holiday season, go for comfort and safety over high fashion. By wearing slip-resistant shoes that fit properly, you will be helping ensure you don’t slip and fall. If you are taking younger children out with you, be sure they are also wearing well-fitting slip-resistant shoes, as this is a big reason for accidental slip and fall incidents.
- See a spill? If you notice a spill or a puddle caused from tracking in snow, let a store employee know immediately. Liquids on the floor are an accident waiting to happen, so ensuring the floors are dry is important to help prevent falls. It can be hard for store employees to notice spills, especially as they are helping more customers during the holiday season. By lending a helping hand to say something if you see a spill and not simply walking past it could truly help prevent a bad fall. Hopefully in entrances and areas prone to water spillage, the retailer will have already installed some non-slip adhesives or mats.
- Report clutter and fallen items. If you see an area that other holiday shoppers have left a mess, let a store representative know. Clutter in the aisles and changing rooms are a tripping hazard that can easily be prevented and only takes a minute of time to pick up.
- Watch out for the weather. When the weather is snowy, icy, or just plain wet, be sure to pay extra attention. Parking lots can be extra slick, the deicer may have not kicked in, and entrances to retailers will probably be extra slippery. With all the additional holiday season foot traffic, it can be hard to keep up with drying floors, so be cautious especially if you are carrying lots of bags.
- Use the handrails. They are there for a reason! From the stairs to the escalator, using the handrails can help prevent an unnecessary slip. Echo to your children to walk, not run, while on the stairs and encourage them to also use the handrails.
- Use caution in restrooms. With restrooms being notoriously wet, many retailers are now implementing a sink and hand dryer combo and putting non-slip adhesive or grip tape underneath the sink areas. However, do your part and pay extra attention to the additional foot traffic they are seeing during the holiday season. Let an employee know if the bathroom needs extra attention.
With the average hospital cost for a fall injury being over $30,000, it is worth it to consider these tips when you do your holiday shopping this year. Most of all simply pay attention to your surroundings. Keeping an eye out for cautionary signs, level changes, and especially entrances and parking lots can ensure for a safer holiday shopping experience.
What if You Slip and Fall in a Retail Store?
If you do happen to slip or fall while in a retail store this holiday season, know that even as a non-buying shopper of the store, you are entitled to safety while on their property. This includes parking lots, restrooms, and any room within the store. Legal site, HG.org recommends that if a slip or fall occurs that you follow these four steps. That way if you need to file a lawsuit for your injuries, medical bills, or wage loss you will have helpful information to back up your claims.
- Get Medical Attention On Site: Even if it doesn’t seem serious, still request medical attention if you feel it necessary. Never hesitate to call an ambulance if you need one.
- Alert The Police: You should contact the police while still on site, especially if you are getting medical attention.
- Take Pictures: Document the scene with photos or video in case further action is required. Be sure to snap photos of the hazard and of yourself while still in the store if possible.
- Gather Information: If others witnessed the incident, kindly ask for their contact information. You will also want to take down the name of the manager that was on duty and other staff that were involved in the incident.
What Are Retailers Doing To Prevent Trips, Slips, and Falls?
Most retailers are extremely smart about planning ahead for the safety of their guests during the busy holiday season. You will notice many of them have taken precautionary measures such as:
- Utilize non-slip products. Non-slip products can be as inconspicuous as building owners want them to be and put in just about any area. Non-slip stair treads are easy to install both indoor and outdoor, providing great slip and fall prevention. Non-slip adhesives or non-skid mats are excellent wet areas. Also, rugs should have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor.
- Keeping floors and surfaces clear of clutter. This is one of the top offenders to trips that lead to falls. Additional staff on hand during the holidays can be available to clear fallen items off shelves to keep floors clear for safe walking.
- Repairing uneven flooring. Before you step foot into the store, building owners should be working on removing any protruding boards, nails, and adjusting floors to ensure the safety of their shoppers this holiday season.
- Ensuring it is bright inside and out. Making sure all lights are in working order, and especially well light in common slip, trip and fall areas is one of a store managers top priorities. From keeping the parking lot and storefront well lit, to ensuring restrooms and changing rooms are bright will help prevent an accident.
- Cleaning wet floors quickly. Keeping floors dry during the winter months can prove challenging between wet weather and the extra attention holiday shoppers may require of store representatives, so you might notice “SLIPPERY WHEN WET” tape being used until the area is tended to.
- Keeping outdoor walkways clear. This can be tricky, but know that building owners are working hard to keep their shoppers safe. By using non-slip tape and treads, they will take precautionary measures to keep you safe while outside too.
- Securing loose mats. Especially in the checkout line or entrance to stores, these can be top offenders for tripping and falling because customers are carrying lots of bags or not always paying attention. Retailers generally ensure loose mats are secured to the ground or at least a contract color to the flooring so guests can be forewarned for a change in surface.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), nine out of ten injuries suffered at retail store properties are attributable to negligence and it may come as a surprise that unintentional falls are consistently among the top five leading causes of death. Our safety tips offer a variety of ways you can do your part to reduce the potential accident of a slip, trip, or fall when shopping this holiday season. Jessup takes a strong interest in the wellbeing of our community, so please join us in sharing this post to keep everyone safe from trips, slips, and falls while out doing their holiday shopping.