• Jackie Brown-Haysom
    12
    In a week that's seen two supermarkets at opposite ends of the country fall victim to criminal acts that have put customers and staff in danger, surely it's time to give up the well established practice of using chained up trolleys to block off unattended checkouts/evacuation routes?
  • Steve H
    96
    Funny, Sandie and I were in our usual supermarket yesterday, and a couple of checkout operators were struggling with two or three trolleys that had been jammed together and had trapped the chain. I thought the same thing Jackie.

    Technically, it's probably a breach of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fire Safety, Evacuation Procedures, and Evacuation Schemes) Regulations 2018 to block an evacuation route in the event the supermarket needs to be evacuated due to a fire alarm/fire, in addition to criminal acts of whatever cause..
  • Michael Wilson
    86
    This is a great point Steve. It would create mass confusion and people having to turn against the flow of traffic.
  • robyn moses
    32
    Me thinks fast becoming the ambulance at the bottom of a cliff for the escalating numbers of the marginalised, broken, and sad causalities of the underfunded, overstretched and inequitable systems of care! In my own community I am increasingly seeing (hearing of) persons exhibiting anti-social behaviour in public places, this was not the norm in this community, pre-covid. Sad, but not a bad idea to wear risk assessment hat when entering such places e.g. no handbags, phone/credit card in pocket, groceries packed before go to carpark etc. etc. On the work front both H&S/HR are increasingly dealing with workers and their personal issues impacting on work/employment.
  • Aaron Marshall
    57
    Supermarkets evacuation schemes are well-defined and planned, taking into account the fact that most checkouts will not be available. There are professionals whose job it is to develop evacuation schemes. IMO, this is a perception that does not accurately reflect the real risk.
  • Steve H
    96
    There are professionals whose job it is to develop evacuation schemes. IMO, this is a perception that does not accurately reflect the real risk.Aaron Marshall
    That could well be the case Aaron, but did they allow for a few unanticipated retail displays blocking entrance/exits, or perhaps there maybe only a few full service checkouts open, and there are a lot of folk with full trolleys lined up to use those.

    Maybe a better way to close off a full service checkout (since there are only a few of them) could be to have a barrier arm that can be quickly raised (like a carpark exit) linked to the fire alarm to trigger on the operation of that,but also able to be triggered by the checkout operators in the event of an event like last weeks Dunedin attack. .
  • Aaron Marshall
    57

    Those displays aren't 'unanticipated', they're all planned out. IMO, adding an additional layer of complexity, and unnecessary cost isn't going to make any difference. Supermarkets are low-density as far as occupation goes; even in a full supermarket, they don't come anywhere near maximum occupancy densities allowed for in evacuation schemes.
    In the Dunedin case, was there a need to evacuate the building as quickly as possible?
  • Janene Magson
    5
    I agree with Steve H - what happened to the retractable strap that was always used, the same band used at banks or any other place to direct queue flows - a trolly is a bit of overkill to show that a checkout is closed for use. It us human nature to flee from danger and in the most direct way, therefore going through any checkout in the immediate area to get our would have been on most of the shoppers minds. We all know that training can only "guide" so much but when the sh1t actually hits the fan, we all act differently............................
  • Steve H
    96
    In the Dunedin case, was there a need to evacuate the building as quickly as possible?Aaron Marshall

    A deranged bloke with a knife, are you kidding me.
  • Aaron Marshall
    57

    He wasn't an immediate risk to anyone in the next aisle.

    I'll defer to the professionals on evacuation, I'm no subject matter expert.
  • Dianne Campton
    55
    We need to take a step back here people. Supermarkets control their risks. They cannot reasonably have foreseen a deranged person entering their shop wanting to stab people. As yet it is unknown why this event happened. Once that has been established the Supermarkets can look at the evidence and review their existing controls to see what else they can do to prevent harm to their staff and patrons. The reason removable arms were removed and replaced with trolleys is because people jumped over the arms and ran off without paying for their supplies. There needs to be a balanced approach to stopping theft and maintaining security and safety with the ALARP test being applied.
  • Steve H
    96
    They cannot reasonably have foreseen a deranged person entering their shop wanting to stab people.Dianne Campton

    In Christchurch, we had a deranged Aussie with a gun invade two mosques Dianne, so really, they reasonably could have foreseen some kind of criminal act that involved one or more persons inflicting damage on shoppers.

    In the wake of the Dunedin event, Countdown management stated that their staff are regularly subject to abuse, that could easily escalate to that kind of event.

    And all of this ignores the possibility of a fire event taking place, technically, even an empty building is supposed to be able to opened from the inside, if it has an evacuation plan in place.
  • Dianne Campton
    55
    Steve you are confusing a fire with an unplanned attack. I think you will find the supermarkets have plenty of exits for people to use in case of a fire.
  • Steve H
    96
    Steve you are confusing a fire with an unplanned attack. I think you will find the supermarkets have plenty of exits for people to use in case of a fire.Dianne Campton

    No, what I am saying is that there are two possibilities that supermarket management should be factoring into their risk assessment and planning, and in the event that either take place, checkouts jammed with trolleys may block emergency egress.
  • Aaron Marshall
    57

    May block...
    There are plenty of other emergency exits, for whatever the emergency is.

    The trolleys at the checkouts aren't only there to show that the checkout is closed, they are there specifically to prevent people moving out of the store without going past an employee, thus deterring theft. I think you'd also find that liquor licensing authorities would have something to say if minors were able to pick up wine or beer and just walk out.

    Unintended consequences....
  • Jono Johnson
    38
    Can the Admin please block the comments on this thread now please? Jeez...
  • Don Ramsay
    43
    I am with Jono on that and there is no need to overthink it
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