Home Improvement Store Customer is Seriously Injured by Falling Merchandise

    Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a male customer of a big-box home improvement store in Missouri who suffered severe injuries when a package of bathroom tiling fell from a high shelf. At the time of the incident in question, the man was passing underneath shelving that contained boxes of tiling that had recently been stocked by the store’s staff. The man was attempting to remove a box of tiles from the bottom shelf when he lightly bumped one of the shelve’s supports with his body. Suddenly, a large box of tiling fell from a higher shelf, striking the man of the head and causing devastating injuries.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please describe your retail experience as it relates to customer safety.
    • 2. What are the best practices and safety protocols for properly stocking shelves?
    • 3. Have you trained employees on these protocols?

    Expert Witness Response E-023913

    I have been a regional and national operations executive for multiple big-box retailers and have trained employees on safety procedures. In addition, I have also approved and written safety training policies and procedures for staff at these big-box retailers. I have also inspected and assessed locations for safe customer and work environments in the retail space. Most retailers of this size have training certification requirements for employees working safely for customers and themselves. This would include stocking, loading, display safety techniques, inspection, clearing of stocking locations of debris, performing “safety bump tests” to insure fixtures are stable (which was clearly not done here), securing and supporting the inventory display, as well as the correct use of fixtures as manufacture designed. I have also trained and hired others to lead this effort, and I have reviewed many situations of improper stocking, unsafe displays that have caused injuries to customers and employees.

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