With freezing temperatures gripping the UK, and with the threat of frost and snow looming, pedestrians trying to get around should note that icy wintry conditions pose a health and safety hazard. Clearwater Solicitors, a personal injury law firm, are reminding people that they should take care when out and about and have offered tips for how people can keep safe on icy or snowy ground.
Although the risk of slippery floors might not seem significant, a huge number of personal injury claims are caused by slips, trips and falls, and the consequences of these injuries can be devastating. Some people suffer broken bones and fractures, while others may sustain serious head injuries. According to Health and Safety Executive data, falls from height were responsible for around 31% of all fatal accidents at work in 2012-13, making them the most common cause of fatal workplace accidents, while slips and trips were the most common cause of workplace injury, causing 8,416 major injuries to employee and 255 major injuries to self-employed people.
Homeowners and businesses have a duty to prevent accidents caused by slips and trips in icy conditions. This may involve clearing snow from their property, and keeping the exterior of the building safe and hazard-free. The practice of using boiling water to open freezing car doors is particularly dangerous, as this can leave a sleek puddle of ice behind. Personal injury solicitors stress that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep their properties safe.
To avoid slips, trips and falls in wintry weather:
– Wear good shoes, with a good strong grip. If they’re uncomfortable or unfashionable, then bring another pair of shoes out with you and change when you reach your destination.
– Take slow and steady steps.
– Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so you don’t feel compelled to rush.
– Use handrails and railings to keep upright when they are available.
– Don’t walk through poorly-lit areas, as you may not be able to see slip and trip hazards. These areas may also attract criminals.
– Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, as you may not be able to break your fall if you do so.
– Be careful when entering and exiting buildings or vehicles.
To improve the health and safety of other pedestrians:
– Shovel the snow around your driveway and the pavement outside your home. Ensure you shovel safely.
– Put sand or salt on the steps, pavement and driveway of your home.
– Keep any areas people may walk clear of water, ice and other debris
– Try to shovel snow away immediately after a snowfall, as it can become compacted over time and may be more dangerous and more difficult to move over time.
With a few health and safety considerations, you should be able to avoid slip, trip and fall personal injuries over the winter. If you are ever injured in an accident you were not to blame for, contact Clearwater Solicitors today to make a personal injury claim by dialling 08000 430 430 or filling in our online enquiry form.