Slips & Trips - Risk Management in Freezing Conditions

The UK has recently been hit by extreme winter weather and this is becoming increasingly common in winter months. This can lead to a rise in the number of slips on snow and ice and to significant injury and unwanted insurance claims.

There is concern that an occupier will be held liable if attempts to clear snow and ice have been made and a pedestrian still slips and sustains injury; however mitigating action taken does give grounds for defence of an injury claim and an occupier or employer can also be held liable if they take no steps to prevent slips on snow or ice on their premises.

Key Issues and Best practice standards

*Lighting - Ensuring there is sufficient lighting for pedestrians to have an opportunity to see icy patches.

*Drainage - Ensure that walkways are well drained so as to remove standing rainwater.

*Entrances - Installing canopies over doorways to keep the area near the door dry and free of ice.

*Shortcuts - People may be crossing ungritted areas. Consider converting them into a proper walkway/ take steps to stop people using the shortcut.

*Gritting - Consider the most effective approach to gritting, the method of salt application and the time it may take to apply. Walkways are better over treated than undertreated however cost will also need consideration.

*Delays - If gritting is delayed take interim measures such as signage and closing off high-risk areas.

For the full bulletin, including the legal requirements for employers click here