There are actually a number of very specific OSHA regulations that should be discussed, and that could make a difference in this case. Any employer, including a big-box retailer is legally required to provide a safe workplace for all workers covered by OSHA. Though it was a customer who was hurt in this case, but it’s entirely possible that the unsteady stack of merchandise could have also constituted a hazard for a worker. If that’s the case, that could bring OSHA into the discussion.
“In addition to OSHA requirements, there are numerous other state and federal regulations requiring businesses who operate for the benefit of the public to provide a healthy and safe environment for its shoppers. There have been numerous instances of incidents just like this, in which someone has been injured by falling merchandise, so it’s unlikely that the big-box store is unaware of the possibility of such a hazard.
This expert has published many technical articles related to various human factors topics. He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and a number of other professional organizations. He is certified by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE), being among the first 50 human factors professionals in the world to hold a BCPE certificate. His human factors career now spans more than 25 years.