While AI technology can’t prevent a customer from dropping a gallon of milk, it can send an instant alert to staff, allowing for a quicker response before a spill becomes a slip and fall accident. However, it’s not just about a safe shopping environment but also a safe working environment. Grocery store employees face a slew of slip and fall hazards, from the meat counter to the break room and every aisle in-between. Take the overnight stockers for instance—if an employee slipped while carrying boxes, fell off a ladder, or experienced a medical emergency, how long would it take before someone came to their aid?
It’s a daunting question grocers can’t ignore—especially when an average of 9 million people are hospitalized each year due to slip and falls. While not all of these incidents occurred in grocery stores, that’s still an average of 25,000 slips per day and one every 3.5 seconds. Loss Prevention Magazine even ranked slips, trips and falls as the third greatest hazard in retail workplaces. Statistically, it’s the greatest risk retailers face today in their stores.
Slip and fall incidents, while the most common, are not the only risks that grocery retailers face. While it’s an uncomfortable truth, catastrophic shootings can happen anywhere. In 2021, a shooting in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store left 10 people dead. Among the victims were a responding police officer, three employees, and several customers. It’s unsettling to think a stop for ice cream or soda at your local grocery store could result in an unimaginable scenario, as some of the bystanders described that day. Unfortunately, these risks are real and it’s critically important to be as prepared and proactive as possible.
After mass shootings like this, the pressure gets put on politicians and leaders to change laws or close loopholes. While change does not always follow, technology can play an important role in preventing and responding faster to these incidents.