8 Tips to Reduce Accidents and Claims in Retail

November 11, 2022

5 min read

Workplace accidents are commonplace in the retail industry, putting staff and customers at risk of injury and incurring huge costs in the form of lost time and insurance claims.  

To instil a positive safety culture that benefits everyone involved in your retail business, SeaChange has developed some essential tips to guide you toward establishing consistent workplace health and safety habits and achieving a significant reduction in accidents and resulting claims. 

1. Ensure You are Legally Compliant  

It is important to maintain a solid legal foundation relating to health and safety in your business and any workplace accidents, liability, and insurance claims that may arise. 

To achieve legally required safety compliance, your safety statement must always be current and site-specific. Additionally, for your protection, it is vital to document anything involving health and safety within your business. This means keeping a thorough record of accidents, incidents, near misses, checks, inspections, and maintenance. 

2. Understand the Leading Causes of Injury in Retail 

When managing a high-footfall business, many elements lie outside your control, but workplace safety is not one of them. Understanding the most pervasive retail industry risks will help you implement appropriate safeguards and staff behaviours to manage them. 

  • Slip, Trip, and Fall: these common workplace accidents affect staff and customers. They often occur due to wet or slippy floors, cluttered aisles or pathways, protruding objects, poor lighting, and falls from heights, such as ladders and scaffolding. 
  • Manual Handling: improper lifting techniques, pushing and pulling too-heavy loads, poor posture, and repeating the same physical movements for extensive periods (repetitive stress) can all lead to employee injury. 
  • Falling Objects: unsecured or poorly arranged merchandise tumbling from shelves, unstable shelving units, and falling overhead signs are typical causes of injury to staff and customers in the retail sector. 

Awareness of these prevalent accidents enables you to develop associated safety best practices to protect your staff and customers from avoidable harm. 

3. Effectively Communicate Risk to Staff 

Many workplace accidents occur because the safety message has not been properly communicated to the workforce. Retail staff must be aware of the risks and hazards in their area of operation in order to manage them proactively and minimise injury to themselves and the public. Simply reading and signing a safety statement does not guarantee that your staff understand the hazards, risks, and controls in their work environment.  

SeaChange’s Risk Awareness system is designed to communicate local risks and supporting safety protocols to your staff in the most reliably impactful way. It is visual and digital, making safety simple and practical.  

When retail risks are effectively communicated through visual means, workplace health and safety can be sustainably practised. 

4. Provide Practical Health and Safety Training 

It is imperative that each member of your staff receive proper safety training (e.g. Manual Handling, First-Aid, Fire Safety Awareness) in all areas relevant to their position.  

Text-based online training solutions and generalised video demonstrations are insufficient. They will not be considered an acceptable level of safety training in the event that a workplace accident leads to court proceedings. 

Employees need hands-on, tailored training that directly applies to their job description and area of operation. SeaChange’s Safety Training Courses and Webinars provide creative and interactive safety training designed to be engaging, meaningful, and relevant to your staff. 

5. Establish Consistent Housekeeping Standards 

65% of liability claims are caused by slip, trip, and fall hazards in the workplace. There is a strong correlation between housekeeping standards and slip, trip, and fall incidents and claims.  

To improve housekeeping standards and reduce the risk of accidents and injury in your business, a reliable housekeeping system should be implemented to support corrective actions and positive safety behaviours, e.g. immediate cleaning of spills, applying wet floor/caution signs, ensuring aisles and pathways remain clear of obstacles and trip hazards, properly stocking shelves so that merchandise does not fall, and cleaning regularly throughout shifts.  

All employees should participate in maintaining excellent housekeeping standards and understand it as a shared responsibility to protect the welfare of themselves and the public. Routine checks through an automated system are the best way to achieve consistency and staff engagement.  

SeaChange’s digital Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention System features CAYGO© (‘Clean As You Go’) checks: a best practice approach to housekeeping standards, hazard identification, and safety management in your retail business. 

6. Schedule an External Audit 

All retail sites should have an internal safety auditing structure that routinely operates to track and manage safety performance. We recommend employing a digital platform for ease of use, rapid input of information and retrieval of records, and automation of health and safety tasks and checklists. 

But don’t neglect to employ the services of an external health and safety auditor in order to achieve objective feedback on your existing safety culture. It is recommended practice to have your retail site audited on its safety and risk management performance by an external expert on an annual basis. Fresh eyes make a big difference. 

7. Monitor Your Retail Site 

Furnish your retail location with cameras to track hazards and monitor for potential accidents and injuries.  

The addition of cameras will foster a sense of security on your business premises, and the CCTV footage they provide will give you peace of mind in case of a workplace accident or insurance claim. Video recordings offer invaluable information after an incident and supply irrefutable facts that can increase defensibility should any liability claims arise.  

Cameras permit proper examination of all factors that contributed to an accident, making it easier to trace the root cause and implement necessary changes. Security cameras can also dissuade bad actors from attempting to make false claims against your retail business.  

It is helpful to have an objective point of truth. 

8. Learn From Near Misses 

An accident avoided should always be acknowledged and recorded.  

Near misses hold valuable information regarding the state of safety within your retail business. They are indicators of accidents and injuries that will inevitably occur unless proactive measures are taken. 

Impress upon your employees the importance of implementing immediate safety correctives when an incident is narrowly avoided. Through observation, communication, and considered behavioural adjustments, your staff members can protect themselves, each other, and your customers from harm, as well as your business from the financial ramifications of avoidable claims. 

SeaChange’s innovative safety services and solutions are proven to increase safety compliance, contractor awareness, and staff ownership in the retail sector.  

Book your consultation with a SeaChange expert today to reduce accidents, incidents, claims, and insurance costs in your retail business and see a real return on your health and safety investment. 

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