Adam Guerrant, an experienced professional from Bitner Henry Insurance Group, shares his insights based on his 20 years of experience in retail management. The information provided will help you understand the risks involved in running a retail establishment and take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.

Slip, Trip, and Fall

One of the primary causes of accidents in a retail location is slip, trip, and fall incidents. These accidents can occur when employees or customers encounter wet floors, debris, or obstacles such as clothes racks or carts. Slip, trips, and falls can result in injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures. To prevent such accidents, it is essential to maintain a clean and well-organized store environment. Regularly check for any potential hazards and promptly address them to minimize the risk of accidents.

Material Handling

Material handling accidents are another leading cause of injuries in retail establishments. Moving merchandise from the stockroom to the sales floor or rearranging products on shelves can be physically demanding tasks. Employees need to be trained on proper lifting techniques to avoid strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Encourage your team to lift items in the “Green Zone,” which means keeping the load close to their body and not overextending. Additionally, implementing a “Team Lift” policy for heavy or awkwardly shaped items can further reduce the risk of accidents. Remember, always lift with your legs, as they are stronger and more capable of handling the load.


Using ladders to reach high shelves or access storage areas is a common practice in retail. However, it also poses a significant risk if not done correctly. Many accidents occur when individuals miss the bottom step while descending the ladder. This can result in immediate back pain and discomfort, which may worsen over time. To prevent ladder-related accidents, ensure that employees receive proper training on ladder safety. Emphasize the importance of maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times and the need to carefully descend without rushing.

The Role of Your Insurance Broker

A knowledgeable insurance broker should work with you to develop a risk management strategy and a safety plan tailored to your specific business needs. They should assist you in crafting an insurance program that provides adequate coverage for your employees and customers, ensuring that you can operate safely with peace of mind.


Running a retail establishment comes with inherent risks, but by understanding and addressing the leading causes of accidents, you can create a safer environment for everyone. Slip, trip, and falls, material handling accidents, and ladder incidents are the primary culprits in retail accidents. Take proactive measures to prevent these accidents, such as maintaining a clean store environment, providing proper lifting training, and emphasizing ladder safety. Additionally, partnering with a reputable insurance broker, such as Bitner Henry Insurance, can further enhance your risk management efforts.

Remember, prioritizing safety and risk management not only protects your customers and employees but also safeguards the success and longevity of your retail business.

Further Reading