Minimising the oops factor

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Preventing slips or trips at work comes down to good design and merchandising – and good housekeeping.

Customers browsing liquor retail premises are usually focused on the merchandise, which means they don’t always look where they are going.

Slips and trips result in thousands of injuries every year, according to Safe Work Australia. The most common are musculoskeletal injuries, fractures, dislocations, bruises and cuts but some can be more serious. Some of them end up as damages cases against the premises where the accident occurred. This can be ruinously costly as settlements can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Risk management involves taking a systematic approach to identifying hazards and taking risk control measures.

Slip and trip hazards can include

  • spills or wet cleaning of floor surfaces
  • sudden change in floor surface or irregularities
  • changes in floor levels, such as thresholds, doorsteps or ramps
  • obstacles in traffic areas
  • low light levels.

Retail businesses often involve functions such as warehousing and cleaning that can present inherent risks. Risk minimisation ideally starts at the design stage, in the choice of floor surfaces, adequate lighting and the provision of separate storage areas, but this isn’t always possible, especially in premises in a shopping centre, for example.

Risk reduction measures of existing premises could include

  • applying floor treatments or using mats to increase slip resistance
  • clearly marking the edges of steps or any changes in height levels
  • separate storage areas
  • providing equipment for cleaning up spills immediately and erecting warning signs while this is in progress
  • having absorbent flooring materials at entrances
  • providing facilities for leaving wet umbrellas at entrances
  • increasing lighting
  • securely stacking goods to minimise tripping hazards.

Administrative risk reduction measures

Good housekeeping starts with staff training in understanding of the need to

  • keep access ways clear and unobstructed
  • clean up spills immediately
  • use signage to warn of wet or slippery areas.

Retail liquor outlet owners should also protect their operations by having the appropriate insurance in place.

Public liability insurance is purpose-designed to protect businesses from damages claims. Shop around for a policy that provides broad coverage of the costs involved: not just a damages payment but also the legal costs involved in defending yourself. The policy should provide cover whether your business is found guilty or negligence or not, and you may choose to settle out of court to avoid negative publicity.

You can trust Gallagher’s brokers to take care of your business. Let us help you ensure your business is adequately covered for public liability. It’s simply good housekeeping.

For more information, contact:

David Lane
Phone: 08 6250 8300