Massive Retail Accident Caused by Negligent Display Construction

    Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a number of shoppers at a big box retails store who were seriously injured when a large display of camping equipment collapsed. At the time of the incident in question, several shoppers were located around a large display of heavy camping equipment, which had been stacked on top of itself for display purpose. The merchandise was stacked so high that it was well above the top of the store’s aisles. At some point, a female customer accidentally backed into and tripped on the corner of one of the boxes at the bottom of the display, causing it to collapse. The collapse caused adjacent shelving to collapse, leading to a number of serious injuries for multiple customers.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Are you familiar with The National Safety Council Accident Prevention Manual?
    • 2. Do you have knowledge of the sections regarding sales floor maintenance and display issues?

    Expert Witness Response E-053567

    The critical issue appears to be the aisleway width, rather than how boxes were stacked. Research shows that people will not continue rearward for an extended distance without looking. It would appear to be unlikely that aisleway widths within a retail establishment would be sufficiently narrow that an individual would be likely to come into contact with product on the other side no matter how it was stacked. Further, tripping is a function of the progression of the foot being arrested during the course of the swing arc and the center of mass of the body moving outside of the base of support. It would be highly unlikely that such would occur during a rearward movement. The accident is unlikely to have occurred as described.

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