Though accidents in supermarkets will obviously occur over time, it is also the case that supermarkets themselves can do more to reduce the risk of such accidents occurring. So management should plan to enable key areas of risk to be identified and goals set for improvement. Though management can begin this process it should involve all the staff in the store with teamwork essential in helping to create a risk-free environment for customers and staff alike.
Staff should also be given their own responsibilities to ensure that their particular area of the store is kept free of risk as far as possible, so they should get to spillages quickly, get the affected area clean as quickly as possible and keep the access routes clear. The store should ideally keep a record of who is responsible for which area and those details should be made clear to everyone working there.
Other ways in which an individual supermarket can take positive action in this area is firstly by ensuring that all working practices and processes are being carried out properly and a record should be kept of any cleaning and maintenance work done. Also, the store management should monitor accident investigation and inspection reports, while safety representatives can be consulted about the risks that exist, how to identify potential problems and how staff can become involved in reviewing existing control measures. Management should also realise that on-the-ground staff are often better able to suitably assess the effectiveness of the measures implemented to reduce the risks of slipping and tripping.
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The HSE provides a five-step approach to risk assessment in which it first encourages employers to look for slip and trip hazards around the workplace, then suggests that those responsible for risk assessment at the store should decide who may be at particular risk of harm and how, whilst bearing in mind that the elderly and those with disabilities are more vulnerable and perhaps more prone to slipping.
Thirdly the risks should be considered and those responsible should ask themselves if the precautions already taken are adequate to deal with the risks. If the firm employs five or more people then any findings have to be written down and recorded. Finally the risk assessment should be regularly reviewed and if any significant changes take place, then it will have to be assessed as to whether or not the existing precautions and management arrangements are still adequate to deal with the risks.