A Lowe’s customer claims he incurred medical costs after tripping over a garden hose and falling on water in the store’s garden center.
The plaintiff claims he shopped at the Glen Carbon Lowe’s located at 159 Whistle Stop Dr. on April 10, 2006, and walked through the garden and yard care center when he fell after tripping over a garden hose running across the walkway and fell in a puddle of water.
The plaintiff blames the defendants for the fall, claiming they [the defendants] performed a number of negligent acts, including their failure to maintain the walkway, failure to remove the garden hose and the accumulation of water on the floor, failure to warn of the garden hose, failure to barricade access to the walkway while an employee used the garden hose, allowance of the garden hose and water to remain on the floor of the store for an unreasonable length of time and failure to provide a safe place for the plaintiff to walk.
This story is an example of the most classic of claims: the Slip and Fall.
Retail Garden Centers have a lot of exposure in the realm of slip and falls. There are many risks that are inherent to the store because of the trees and plants that need to be maintained. In the example above, during watering procedures of the plants, a man tripped on the hose and fell into a puddle of water.
However, it does not end with just hoses being on the ground. There are many other tools/items needed to maintain plants like clippers, trimmers, sprinklers, fertilizer, potting soils, and handheld shovels and rakes. Any of these tools or bags, if left on a store walkway, represents a slip and fall risk of any customers walking by who don’t see them on the ground.
In order to prevent incidents like the story above from happening it is important to employ risk mitigating practices when tending to plants which include:
- Keep walkways cleared when watering and maintenance are not being performed
- During watering and maintenance:
- Put up warning signs to block of an area an employee is working in
- If there are hoses running across the whole aisle, close off the aisle until the work is completed (have an extra employee on hand to gather an item a customer might need in the aisle)
- Clean up excessive water on the ground before re-opening the aisle
- Clean up all tools before taking down warning signs
Utilizing these risk mitigation processes will help to prevent slip and fall claims from occurring in a retail garden center. Should an accident happen however, it is important to have a program in place that is designed with the unique needs of growing professionals in mind.
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