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Will I be sued if I clear snow from a path? Or do I have to keep my Car Park clear?
Every time snow falls or is forecast we receive calls and emails asking 'Will I be sued if I clear snow from a path? Or do I have to keep my Car Park clear?'
The simple answer is yes you can, if you do it carefully!
You are unlikely to be sued if you are sensible.
So how to clear snow and ice.....
When you clear snow and ice:
- Do it early in the day - it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow- if you remove the top layer the sun may melt the rest.
- Don’t use water - it might refreeze and turn to black ice & become more dangerous.
- Use salt if possible - it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)NB Do take care not to cover plants in salt.
- You can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt - it will provide grip underfoot pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways - using more salt may help. It is best to salt the night before before persons use the path in the morning.
- Take care where you move the snow. When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
- Be flexible with staff's and your own traveling plans this will ensure that staff are reducing the risk of accidents by travelling at peak icy times; Consider if you can staff working from home to avoid the need to travel, non urgent meetings can be postponed - Ensure clothing is appropriate, and phones are charged.
- Safety Policy & Risk Assessments; Ensure your safety management system covers work travel and work arrangements for such conditions.
- At Home offer to clear your neighbours’ paths. If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are safe in the cold weather.
If you follow the above sensible guidance you are unlikely to be sued when you clear a path, and your staff & visitors will have a reduced risk of slipping or falling in the Ice or Snow.