Winter Safety Liability: Property Owners Responsible for Clearing Walkways
Winter is coming: Property owners must clear public walkways
Although many readers in New York City might not want to hear it, winter is fast approaching. A number of concerns that extend beyond wearing warmer clothing accompany the arrival of colder weather. Freezing temperatures will also bring ice and snow, which means that sidewalks and other public walkways are likely to become slipping hazards.
The coming of winter is both a reminder for pedestrians to be cautious and of the responsibility property owners have to maintain safe premises. Parking lots, sidewalks and the interior of a building are all places that could become slippery with ice and snow on the ground, so property owners should take care to protect those who could slip and fall.
Observers note that visibility to potential slipping hazards is very important. This means that warning signs and appropriate lighting might be helpful. Because of the dark color of asphalt parking lots, for example, it might be hard to see ice when has formed. As such, property owners should try to remove the ice and provide ample warning to those who might come into contact with the slippery surface.
In focusing on snow and ice removal for exterior surfaces, it may be easy to neglect to take precautions for interior spaces too. When people track snow into a store or place of business, it will undoubtedly melt. Puddles of water on an uncarpeted floor can create a very serious slipping hazard that patrons might not expect.
Becoming the victim of a slip-and-fall accident can have very serious consequences, especially when the incident occurs on hard, paved surface. Suffering broken bones or serious muscular injuries as the result of a fall could make many aspects of life very difficult.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Winter’s Coming — How to Prepare Your Business to Help Prevent Slip Fall Accidents,” Kiernan Hopkins, Nov. 5, 2013