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Falling Merchandise Kills Far Too Many People


Falling Merchandise Kills Far Too Many People

I’m Ed Smith, a Falling Merchandise Injury Lawyer. Every year, our firm meets with clients who have been seriously hurt by falling objects at work and in large, discount retail chains or “megastores.” In some of the worst cases, people hurt by falling merchandise suffer traumatic brain injuries and have even lost their lives.

Consumer Safety 

If we want to better protect ourselves as consumers, we need to put aside the excitement of possibly saving a few dollars at these places since we often do so at the cost of our own safety. Too many Home Depots, Walmarts and other similar stores keep allowing employees to drive forklifts and move large loads near shoppers during regular business hours. While Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) rules and regulations offer significant protection to store employees, the average visitor without a hard hat faces far too many dangers.

Reported Cases Involving Falling Merchandise

If you are unfamiliar with the basic dangers lurking in your neighborhood Home Depot, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco or other “big box” stores, please consider that stacks of lumber and other heavy objects can suddenly rain down on you before you can take cover. Here are some previous cases involving traumatic injuries and deaths that some of these stores prefer to never acknowledge:

  • A 79-year-old Santa Monica woman visited a Home Depot with her daughter. During their visit, the mother was suddenly crushed beneath a load of lumber that fell upon her. Unfortunately, the mother passed away due to the severity of her injuries. The facts of this devastating case are still known because the children of the woman wanted to share the wrongdoing of the store with the general public. In turn, the children refused to accept a possibly larger, confidential settlement.
  • A Southern California deep sea diver once loved his work before he experienced a traumatic incident at a local Walmart. He was searching for a simple wastebasket when he suffered serious injuries from a pile of goods that fell on his head. The impact, unfortunately, dislocated a disc in his spinal cord.
  • A three-year-old girl visited a Home Depot with her family in Idaho during a Memorial Day weekend. The employees were moving dangerous loads in the vicinity of shoppers, including the young girl, during regular store hours. A forklift operator mishandled a load of kitchen countertops. The heavy load, unfortunately, fell ten feet to the floor and crushed the young girl in the process.
  • A two-year-old girl from Virginia Beach, Virginia, visited a megastore with her family. A 100-pound television cabinet fell on top of the young girl. Sadly, the young girl suffered fatal injuries as a result of the store’s negligence.
  • Two brothers visited a Home Depot store in Connecticut. One of the brothers, a 41-year-old man, was hit on the head by approximately 2,000 pounds of falling lumber. The brother, devastatingly, passed away in the incident.

Sadly, these are not isolated incidents. All of us must watch out for ourselves whenever we visit a megastore that does not honor additional safety precautions.

Ways That Retail Warehouses Can Make Shopping Excursions Much Safer

It is best for all shoppers to only visit megastores that regularly abide by the following practices:

  • Barricading heavy-duty work aisles, including nearby aisles, whenever employees are busy restacking and moving goods during high-volume business hours.
  • Limiting the use of all heavy machinery to hours when the shopping public is absent.
  • Constantly making safety rounds to check that all high shelves are not unstable or overloaded. Periodic checks of goods stored high above shoppers should be carried out by employees throughout the day.
  • Routinely using netting, wiring, banding and retainer bars around stacked goods to make sure they cannot suddenly shift in any direction. Ideally, stores should also post signs asking customers to have employees help them pull down desired objects from shelves high above them.

California’s Stance on Warehouse Store Safety Regulations

Although our federal government should still consider passing standardized safety legislation for all megastores, the State of California has already moved forward in this area. Warehouse stores in this state must now create special safety zones to better protect consumers – and they must report all injuries occurring on their premises to authorities whenever they require hospitalizations (including emergency room visits).

Related Articles by Falling Merchandise Injury Lawyer, Ed Smith:

Falling Merchandise Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Falling Merchandise Injury Lawyer. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a falling merchandise incident, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach me online via my website,

I have been serving the Greater California community for over 35 years, helping injured people and their families recover after accident. Browse my client ratings listed on:

I am a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Membership of this forum is comprised of trial lawyers with case verdicts and settlements in excess of one million dollars.

Feel free to peruse my Past Verdicts and Settlements page.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Cormmons,  Engineered Wood Selection by Raysonho. CC0
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