Shropshire Council

Shops and supermarkets

The main hazards associated with shops and supermarkets (the list is not exhaustive) include:

Injuries arising from lifting/pushing/pulling etc

In order to prevent such injuries employers must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of manual handling operations and take precautionary measures to minimise personal injury, for instance when moving stock etc. Lifting, handling and assisting aids should be used wherever practicable.

Electrical safety

All equipment should be installed and maintained by a competent person. It is recommended (IEE Wiring Regs BS7671) that the fixed system is inspected/tested at least every five years (or more frequently as recommended by a qualified electrician) and that all electrical appliances are examined/checked  ('PAT' tested) at a frequency appropriate to the risk. Regular maintenance should include visual checks for general wear and tear ensuring that plugs, leads and sockets are in good condition and that there is no exposed wiring. Any corrective actions must be carried out immediately.

Safe use of machinery

To prevent harm to employees ensure that all staff are fully trained to use the equipment provided, eg compactor, trolleys, lifts and dock levellers. Ensure that workplace equipment is maintained, safe for use and that it is the right equipment for the job. Some of the equipment will require statutory examination by a competent person, eg lifts and lifting equipment. The competent person is usually your insurance company engineer.

Entrance, floors, aisles, and stairs

In order to prevent slips and trips these areas should be kept free from obstructions at all times. Floor coverings and route ways should be maintained and all areas should be well lit. Spillages should be cleared up immediately. Leaking equipment (eg refrigerators/freezers) should be repaired. Staff should wear sensible footwear. Warning signs should be displayed during cleaning to warn customers/staff of potentially slippery surfaces. Ensure that any change in floor level is clearly visible.


Checkouts should be designed for the operator to work comfortably, and seats should be provided with sufficient space not to restrict the operator if they have to stand, eg to move a heavy item past the scanner. Any electrical cables should be safely secured and tucked away. 


Verbal abuse and intimidation can cause health problems, and the fear of violence can cause anxiety and stress. Employers should have systems in place for the reporting and monitoring of violent situations, and provide training on the establishment's procedures to deal with potentially violent incidents, eg shoplifting, robberies, threats and intimidation, sexual or racial harassment.

Glass windows/doors

Many accidents are down to customers running into glass, simply because they haven't spotted it.  Any large areas of glass, eg entrance doors, should be clearly marked so that people are aware of its presence.

Workplace temperatures

Employers have a legal duty to maintain a reasonable temperature in the shop. 16C is normally the minimum temperature, unless dictated by food safety legislation, where lower temperatures might be considered. The provision of thermal/protective clothing should be assessed.

Smoking (effective 1 July 2007)

All premises, which are wholly or substantially enclosed and used as a place of work by more than one person are, now smoke free. 'No smoking' signs must be displayed at the public entrance to the premises. Take reasonable steps to ensure that staff, customers etc are aware that smoking is not permitted. Ensure that no one smokes in smoke free premises or vehicles.

Main legislative requirements