As a consumer, you likely don’t stop to think about the risk you incur when going into a retail shop, but there are risks that you face every time you go out to purchase something in a store. Slip-and-falls are among the most common accidents that shoppers experience when out at a store.

Far from the punchline many people consider them to be, slip-and-fall accidents can be relatively significant and can lead to serious injuries, including broken bones and brain injuries. Knowing how to identify risk factors can reduce your risk of slipping and falling while out shopping.

Any kind of liquid on the floor is a source of danger

Rain, snow and ice can all drastically increase how dangerous walking is for people out in public, especially if the weather changed unexpectedly and they don’t have the right kind of shoes on their feet. However, rain and snow are far from the only source of potential liquid on the floor that could put you at risk of getting hurt.

As previously mentioned, refrigeration and freezing units can produce condensation in certain circumstances, including if the unit has begun to malfunction or the business has inadequate ventilation.

Business owners have an obligation to ensure proper venting and that they clean up any condensation that does form before it presents a risk to the public. Additionally, if the store cleans the floors, they should do so in a manner that does not leave any standing liquid and leave out signage to warn customers that the floor will be slippery.

Physical spills of products can also create risk

Different stores have different products that can create substantial risk if there’s a spill that doesn’t get cleaned up quickly. At a grocery store, items ranging from spilled candy to oatmeal could create a slip hazard on the floor.

At stores that sell dry goods, small items, like ball bearings, can create a similar risk. Businesses should have proactive policies regarding how staff handle spills, including cordoning off areas and cleaning up as quickly as possible.

When businesses do not engage in adequate maintenance and cleaning practices, they can create dangerous environments for visitors and unnecessary risk for a slip-and-fall. In the event that a business’s negligence plays a role in an accident, they may have premises liability that can lead to insurance claims or even lawsuits.