At HM, we see safety as the key to healthy, happy and productive communities and workplaces. While the Midwest is just now getting snow, ice storms and below freezing temperatures, it is always a good idea to use cation when winter weather is upon us. When working on site outdoors in cold winter weather, make sure you are dressed properly. Ice is one of the most common causes of winter accidents. From a broken ankle to dislodged shoulder, falling on ice can be a serious medical cost. While this is a concern for the health and safety of your own family, it is equally as concerning for liability of your home.
If a third-party slips and falls on your property, they could sue you for any medical costs or damages they incur. This is true whether they were an invited party guest or an unwelcome solicitor. If someone is injured on your property, you are likely liable for the damages.
Slips and trips can be from icy walkways, broken stones, cracked pathways, uneven stairs, and poor lighting. Other liability can come from items falling on your property, like broken roof shingles, melting icicles, and dead tree branches.
Here are a few Winter Slips and Trips general safety areas for work site safety as Homeowner:
- Pay attention to the weather and plan ahead. Use smart phones and websites to get regular weather reports.
- Wear slip on ice cleats when walking in slick conditions.
- Do not leave the house without putting on appropriate footwear and clothing for ice and snowy conditions.
- Do not attempt to shovel large amounts of heavy snow at one time. Snow can weigh up to 21 pounds per cubic foot. This weight combined with the leverage of the shovel handle can cause an overexertion injury to the hips and spine.
- Keep outside walking paths lit.
- Warn others about any unsafe walking conditions by placing signage or by closing off the walkway.
- Take the safest path in the home. Enter and exit the home only using pathways that have been cleared.
- Do not run or take large strides and slow down when rounding corners.
- Scan for ice on the steps or in the parking lot before exiting the vehicle.
- Use extra caution when walking on slippery surfaces, lean slightly forward and scoot your feet or take small steps.
- Once inside, clean your shoes. Ice and snow caked onto the soles of your shoes can be slippery.
When you Fall:
When out and about in treacherous weather, be prepared for a slip or fall. Avoid using your arms to break a fall. When falling backwards, make an effort to tuck your chin in so your head does not hit the ground with full force. If you begin falling backwards, try and sit down; this technique allows you to relax your body. When your body relaxes, an injury is likely to be less severe than if your body is tensed up. Trying to fight a fall can sometimes result in a worse injury than the bump your fall would have otherwise caused.
The Bottom Line:
It’s never a bad idea to ensure you have all the necessary protection from winter liability claims. Often, these personal injury and property damage costs can be so high that they could financially damage your entire line of assets. Protect your wallet, your family, and your liability this winter.
This post brought to you by HM Risk Management (Vanessa Scavuzzo). 417-414-6780 • firstname.lastname@example.org