Personal Injury

Slips, Trips and Falls in Winter: The Risks

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, December 10, 2020

Winter brings with it a lot of beauty, but it can also pose a threat to our safety.

From the rain, ice and snow to the shorter days, there’s a lot to contend with during the colder months.

The conditions in winter increase the risk of a slip, trip or fall – and can make these accidents more serious if they do happen.

Winter conditions

The weather is one of the biggest contributors to falls in winter. As the colder months bring more rain in the UK, according to Statista, it’s more likely to cause an incident involving a slip or fall. Wet ground is a major slipping hazard, meaning you’re more at risk in public places exposed to rain – such as car parks, town centres and parks.

Ice and snow are no better for walking on. As a lot of the country has already had its first snow of the season, this is something we should all prepare for as we head further into winter.

And it’s not just the precipitation that presents a threat. The leaves lost in autumn are now lying on our streets and pavements, decaying and collecting the rain and snow that does fall. Throw in much shorter days – often under nine hours of daylight in 24 hours – and you have some problematic public pathways.

Reducing the risk

According to the NHS: “The winter months also bring challenges when it comes to falls. Wet, cold weather falling leaves, ice and snow can be a real hazard. Spreading sand or salt on icy surfaces on walkways, work areas and steps can help. Windy weather can also affect balance and cause a fall.”

The health service advises trying to avoid open or exposed places, as well as wearing appropriate shoes, with low heels, slip-resistant soles and good tread.

Meanwhile, the USA’s EHS Today recommends walking slowly and deliberately, looking out for slippery floors when entering buildings and being cautious when getting in and out of vehicles. It could also be advisable to avoid poorly lit areas – the worse the light, the more difficult it is to see dangers, such as black ice.

It may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk posed by winter weather, but we can take extra care to reduce this risk and keep ourselves as safe as possible.

Responsibility

Organisations responsible for building and public spaces are also responsible for the condition they’re kept in. This means that in winter, they should keep them as safe as possible. This could mean they have to clear rainwater or put better lighting in place.

If they fail in their duty of care to users of these spaces, they could be held liable for any accidents that then happen.

For example, if a shop has not cleared its entrance of ice, it could be responsible for you slipping on it and hurting yourself. Meanwhile, if your employer has not provided enough lighting for you and your colleagues to see properly, they could be held accountable for any accidents that happen as a result.

If you’ve had a fall in a public place that was caused by the negligence of the organisation responsible for it, you could be able to make a compensation claim.

To find out how First4Lawyers and our expert personal injury solicitors could help, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online.

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