Missouri grocery shoppers know to a certain extent that their food stores are places where injuries might occur. However, it is the responsibility of the supermarket owners to create an atmosphere in which the largest and most predictable risks are controlled. Slips, falls and contact with merchandise-- a box falling onto a customer's body, for example-- are among the leading causes of grocery store injuries, and they are largely preventable.
Besides these obvious injuries, there are subtler forces at work that make a supermarket a dangerous place to be. This is especially true for those who spend the most time in grocery stores: the workers. According to an article in Safety+Health magazine, a publication of the National Safety Council, grocery stores have a higher incidence of occupational injury than many other industries. Even construction workers are safer on the job, statistically speaking.
While an injured person might find it easy enough to bring suit and recover damages if the injury occurred while shopping or in a professional capacity, there are still other incidents that tend to be more difficult to solve in a court of law. Illness from contaminated food or from food tampering, for example, might be difficult to prove in isolated cases. That is why it is typically in a shopper's best interest to check everything thoroughly before buying. The Food & Drug Administration suggests several steps to ensure safe purchases:
- Examining products and check sell-by dates
- Alerting store management to compromised merchandise
- Preparing and storing food safely at home
The FDA also mentions that the food industry is increasing safety practices. However, it is still often up to individual shoppers to protect and stand up for themselves in the case of premises accidents, occupational injuries or foodborne illnesses originating from grocery stores.