CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here is rolling out a wall-mounted spill cleaning system to reduce the potential for slip and fall accidents at approximately 1,300 of its stores.
Kroger's 14 operating units, including Dillon Cos., Hutchinson, Kan., will implement the system by the end of this year. The Atlanta division, with 156 stores, will complete its rollout by the end of August. The remaining operating units are at various stages of implementation.
"Our goal is to bring the tools needed to clean up spills to our employees much more quickly and effectively," said Kevin Husted, corporate director of risk management at Kroger. Approximately four cleaning systems per store will be mounted in strategic locations throughout the supermarket. The number of cleaning systems could be more or less depending on the size and needs of each store.
The new cleaning system, known as the Spill Response Station, provides all the tools needed to clean up a spill in one location. SRS houses a broom, a dustpan, a roll of plastic trash bags and a bottle of white powder that absorbs liquid spills, on a wall-mountable wire rack.
Typically cleaning tools are located in different areas in the store, "which increases the amount of time it takes to get the tools and clean up the spills," Husted explained.
Kroger tested the SRS in 50 of its grocery stores from August 1997 to March 1998, and got very favorable results, Husted said. While he declined to cite specific statistics, he noted Kroger would not be rolling the system out if it didn't significantly reduce the potential for slip and falls.
One example of the SRS' use was during a store's grand opening, when a customer knocked over a display, breaking 15 to 20 bottles of baby oil.
The manager used the absorbent material as instructed, swept it up into the dustpan and discarded the spillage into the plastic bag. An additional amount of the absorbent material was required to ensure the floor was no longer slippery.
The manager said the cleaning system allowed the store to have a dry floor with no potential for slip and falls, Husted said.
Kroger previously used mobile spill carts but found they "took up a lot of space and created congestion on the floor," Husted said.
"The SRS takes up less space and tucks up and out of the way," he added. "This allows us to put multiple stations in the store and basically make them somewhat invisible to customers. But our employees know where they are and can use them."