When winter comes to town, you want to make sure that your property is safe for everyone. Due to extreme weather conditions, some issues may arise during this time. As the snow and ice cover the walkways, sidewalks, and driveways, you might have to deal with more than shoveling snow. As a property owner, you can be held liable for any accidents that occur on your property. If you want to protect your home or business from a lawsuit, there are ways to avoid being negligent with snow removal this winter.
If someone is injured on your property, you could be held liable for any damages and injuries. During a heavy snow or ice storm, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that all safety measures have been taken. You need to remove any obstructions or dangers that would cause an injury. This is often known as “premise liability.” It can be applied to both homeowners and business owners.
While most of the responsibility is on the property owner, pedestrians and visitors also have to exercise caution to avoid a slip and fall. However, you cannot count on others to keep you safe from a lawsuit. It is your responsibility to survey your property and look for signs of hazards. When you notice these dangers, you must act quickly to remove them from your property. For example, you don’t need to be outside when heavy snow hits the area, but you should begin to clean up within a few hours of the snowfall.
Check Those Areas
There are some steps that you can take to minimize the risk around your property and avoid being negligent in snow removal. Snow-covered sidewalks are the most common causes of slip and fall accidents. Depending on your state laws, you must remove snow from public sidewalks by a specific time. If you fail to do this, then you could be issued a ticket with a fine. In some places, you have to do more than just remove the snow. Salting may be required to keep your sidewalk and walkways safe from accidents. You should check up on the local laws in your area.
Icy walkways and driveways are often your responsibility. If you have visitors to your property, you need to clear the area of ice and snow. First, you should try to remove all the snow. Once that is completed, you can throw down sand or salt around your walkways. However, sand will not remove the ice. It can only provide more traction on the ground. If you want to remove the ice thoroughly, put salt down on your walkways and driveways.
As you are removing snow around your property, you should look for other hazards. Broken or cracked pavement becomes more apparent as you plow, shovel, and salt your outdoor spaces. The freeze and thaw cycle in the winter leads to cracks in asphalt or concrete. Since you cannot fix them in the cold weather, you need to place warning signs for pedestrians.
You also want to watch out for pools of water that can accumulate due to the melting snow and ice. In the main entryways, pedestrians can track in water. Those wet areas can lead to slips and falls. As people shake off their boots and shoes, the snow will accumulate, melt, and refreeze. You should think about purchasing a snow melting mat to avoid these problems. A highly-absorbent rug can also help to soak up the excess water. Property owners need to keep all interior floors dry during the winter. A “wet floor” sign can be placed to alert pedestrians about the potential hazard.
In addition to snow, there are other winter dangers around your property. Dangling icicles can form on your eaves, especially near sidewalks and other walkways. If your building’s gutters are clogged, you could have an ice dam forming on your roof. You want to remove these hazards right away. If you cannot reach the icicles or break them down, make sure to alert pedestrians of the overhead dangers.
In some cities and towns, you are also responsible for clearing out snow in front of a fire hydrant or bus stop. Along with that, you must remove the snow from the sidewalks that lead up to those areas. Many places have neighborhood snowplows that push snow into a parking lot or driveway. As a property owner, you should make sure all those obstructions are removed.
Finally, those dimly lit areas can hide black ice. Since the sun cannot reach those spaces to melt the snow and ice, there could be a buildup of these slip and fall hazards. You should add some lighting to your front door and driveways areas to help visitors and pedestrians see the ground and avoid an accident.
Don’t Be Negligent This Winter
All these wintertime hazards can be a danger to your family, employees, customers, and pedestrians. These hazards are also a liability risk. If you are negligent, you could be held liable for damages and injuries. You must take every precaution to keep your sidewalks, walkways, and parking lots free from snow and ice.
Get Help With Snow Removal
Now that you know your snow removal responsibilities, you need to have a plan in place for the winter. You might want to hire the services of a professional snow removal company. These companies will come to your home and business to remove ice and snow. They will make sure that your property is safe for you and any visitors. With these services, you don’t have to worry about dealing with these winter hazards by yourself.
Charlestown Landscaping Is Ready for the Winter
Our team is ready to help with all your snow removal needs. We are available during the day, night, and weekends to clean up your property after a winter storm. Charlestown Landscaping offers snow removal and deicing services for both commercial and residential customers. If you want to learn more about us, please fill out the contact form.