Learn tips on how to prevent accidents from happening in and around your store.

Woman unpacking a box in a store

There are a variety of liability issues that convenience, grocery and other store retailers face on a daily basis. These include:

  • Injuries caused by store displays or improperly stacked goods
  • Slips and falls inside and outside of the store  
  • Parking lot safety  

As a retailer, you have a duty to provide reasonable care to keep your premises safe for customers. You can ensure you’re exercising reasonable care by taking appropriate risk management measures.

Displays or improperly stacked merchandise

Store displays and stacked merchandise create liability concerns for retailers through faulty design (such as display racks with hard-to-see, protruding lower shelves), poor placement and a possibility of striking customers.

There are several precautions you can take to ensure you don’t incur costs from store displays or improperly stacked merchandise:

  • Establish written procedures and employee training for stocking shelves and preparing displays.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of displays and shelves for hazards.
  • Post signs asking customers to request employee assistance for items on high shelves.
  • Place heavier items on lower shelves.
  • Clearly mark lower-level shelves that protrude into aisles.
  • If distributors stock your shelves, check their work.

Slips and falls

Liability for slips and falls can occur from weather conditions, poor cleaning techniques or schedules, and slippery flooring materials. Slips and falls can occur in almost every location, but these accidents can be prevented with simple changes or adjustments.

  • Establish written housekeeping procedures to keep all areas clean and orderly and maintain a housekeeping log.
  • Conduct periodic inspection of the premises for slip/fall hazards and maintain records of inspection.
  • Require employee training for safety procedures, cleaning operations and inspection procedures. Maintain a record of training.
  • Use mats at doorways to the exterior and all other locations where slippery conditions are foreseeable. Ensure mats are in good condition.  
  • Post caution signs or barriers to warn and/or prevent access to any hazards. Dry mop wet spots immediately.

Parking lot safety concerns

Retailers should be aware of the liability concerns for the exterior areas of their stores, including parking lots, sidewalks and crosswalks. Accidents can occur in these exterior spaces because of weather conditions (either ignored or improperly handled), improperly maintained surfaces, inadequate signs, improper pavement markers or uncontrolled shopping carts. There are several steps retailers can take to minimize losses due to parking lot safety.

  • Customers can slip/trip and fall before they reach your door. Establish procedures for the prompt removal of snow, ice, and substances such as oil or gasoline. Include procedures for the application of salt or sand, when appropriate.
  • Have potholes repaired regularly and garbage cans emptied daily.
  • If you have parking stops, make sure they are in good condition.
  • Use clearly marked signage, pavement painting and safety mirrors.
  • Provide clearly marked bike parking.
  • Establish procedures for the containment and collection of shopping carts.
  • Periodically inspect parking lot for hazards.
  • Ensure that parking lots are well-lit.
  • When using a contractor, require indemnity provisions in the contract and additional insured status for you on the contractor's policy.


  • Consider a survey by a security consultant for customer and employee safety.
  • Conspicuous cameras with signage indicating cameras in use.
  • Door decals indicating customer height as they enter.
  • Alarm system (panic button/burglar alarm) with signage.
  • If you have an ATM, ensure there are proper security measures in place.
    • Place the ATM in a visible location and confirm there is a security camera in a direct line of sight.
    • Regularly check the ATM for skimmers, which capture data or record the cardholder’s PIN.

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