The Snow Code – Prevent slips, trips and falls safely


We may all have been dreaming of a White Christmas, but the reality of snow has hit everyone sooner than was expected and the nightmare of slips, trips and falls in icy conditions is upon us.

There is also some confusion as to where you stand legally if someone is injured on your property or even on the pavement outside your house if you’ve not cleared snow and ice correctly.

Prevent slips, trips and falls in the snowWell, it is unlikely that you would be held responsible for any injuries as people walking on snow and ice have the responsibility to take care of themselves. So don’t be put off clearing snow from paths or public spaces, just follow the ‘snow code’ to keep yourself and others safe in the bad weather and avoid accidents and injuries.

Clear snow and ice early in the day

This is easier than when the snow has been trodden down. Even if you can just remove the lighter top layer, the lower layer may melt during the day.

Use salt or sand

If you can, cover the paths you’ve cleared with salt or sand before nightfall. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt to stop your paths refreezing; sand or ash are OK but are better at giving some ‘grip’ rather than preventing ice.

Don’t use the salt in roadside bins, that’s there to keep the roads clear.

And never use water to melt snow – it will refreeze as black ice which is a major cause of slips, trips and falls.

Take care around plants and grass as well – salt can damage them.

Move snow safely

When you’re shoveling snow, make sure you’re not piling it up in someone else’s way or where it would block someone’s path.

Be a good neighbour

Offer to clear snow and ice if your neighbour would find it difficult to do so. This is the time of year to really look out for elderly or disabled neighbours – if you have any worries for their welfare in the Winter months, contact your local council.

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