Slips and Trips in Snow and Ice — Your Responsibilities

After being battered by Storms Abigail and Barney, the first ever to be given a name by the Met Office, the UK is set to suffer even more unsettled weather. El Niño, a phenomenon in which Pacific seawater increases in temperature and affects global weather patterns, will be the strongest on record this time. With over 15,000 hospital admissions related to injuries caused by slipping on snow or ice every year and many of these injuries caused on business premises, now is the time to make sure you contract professional snow clearance and gritting services.

The last time El Niño hit the UK, in 2009/10, transport networks were thrown into chaos with roads closed, trains suspended and airport runways inoperable. The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), estimated that the cost to the economy every day of ‘the big freeze’ was between £600m and £1bn.

Public and business-related areas everywhere from retail stores and offices to hospitals and prisons have a duty of care to their staff and visitors; this includes having a professional and effective winter gritting program in place. Failing to ensure areas such as paths and car parks are as safe as is practicable represents a breach of this duty and could be regarded as negligence in the event of litigation.

Liability to businesses and other organisations can be extremely costly - compensation payouts to injured persons have previously hit the £500,000 mark before today. The common practice of instructing employees to carry out gritting has also led to compensation claims when employees have either failed to carry out  gritting to an adequate level or have even slipped and injured themselves in the process. Courts almost invariably take the side of the injured person in such cases, when it can clearly be shown that a safer and more effective method could have been used i.e. contracting gritting services.

As well as a clear risk of legal problems, snow and ice can also have many other detrimental effects. These can include a loss of revenue, lowered customer confidence, unmet targets and a damaged reputation.Too many organisations leave their winter gritting and snow clearance plans till the last minute and the unpredictable UK weather can change at a moment’s notice, leaving you unprepared and unsafe.

Don’t let the next bout of bad weather catch you and your business unawares - call Botanical now to arrange a bespoke environmental management plan utilising our superior snow clearance and gritting services.

25th November 2015, 11:39