With winter comes slippery paths covered with ice and packed snow. As a result, slip and fall injuries increase during this time of year. Conditions range from bruising to fractures and broken bones, and the elderly are at a particularly higher risk.
The ramifications, however, don’t end with the incident. The injured may have to pay expenses related to an emergency room visit or, in far more serious instances, has to contend with months of physical therapy and subsequent bills. For property owners, poorly-maintained facilities, both inside and out, invite a premises liability lawsuit.
Nevertheless, taking the following steps reduces slip and fall risks in winter:
For Pedestrians, Employees, and Visitors:
- Always wear good footwear. Shoes and boots should have treads, rather than smooth or leather soles.
- Stay on roads and sidewalks that have been plowed or shoveled thoroughly – never take a shortcut.
- Take your time as you walk . There’s a greater chance of slipping or ignoring slick conditions when you’re rushing and short on time.
- If you see a slippery surface or area that hasn’t been shoveled in your workplace, alert a supervisor immediately.
- Take small, careful steps in snowy or icy areas.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets. You never know when you’ll have to break a sudden fall.
- Avoid distractions, like cell phones and portable music players, to be alert to icy or snowy conditions ahead.
For Businesses and Property Owners:
- Always have a snow removal plan in place.
- Be sure to record all activities concerning snow removal and handling slippery floors.
- Always provide adequate lighting to your employees, customers, and contractors.
- Be aware of refreezing, and have a plan to address it.
- Be ready to throw down abrasive strips, mats, and anti-skid floors in typically wet areas, like entryways and bathrooms.
- Always keep your sidewalk shoveled.
- Ensure cords from cleaning instruments and snow blowers stay out of the way, as these pose additional tripping hazards.
- Mark any wet or slippery areas clearly with barricades.
Nevertheless, property owners may not heed these recommendations, putting those in and around their facility at risk. If you slipped and fell inside or outside a building, home, or any type of premises this past winter, Trantolo & Trantolo’s lawyers can provide some guidance with your case. To begin, contact any of our Connecticut locations.