Clearing Paths In Winter: Ensuring Safety In Commercial Properties & Public Spaces

As the owner of a business that has an outdoor space, clearing paths in winter is an obligation you have to your staff and visitors to your premises to help keep them safe. Here are some reminders to help you keep on top of the task.

Winter transforms the landscape into a picturesque wonderland, but it also brings its share of challenges, particularly when it comes to keeping paths clear and safe in commercial properties and public spaces. Snow and ice accumulation can create treacherous conditions, posing a risk to pedestrians and potentially affecting business operations. In this article, we'll explore the importance of clearing paths in winter and offer valuable tips for maintaining safe and accessible outdoor areas.

Make Sure You Prioritise Safety For Visitors To Your Site By Clearing Snow Regularly

The safety of employees, clients, visitors, and the general public should always be the top priority. Snow and ice-covered pathways can lead to slips, falls, and injuries, potentially resulting in legal liabilities. Clearing paths promptly and effectively is essential for mitigating these risks.


Remember Your Legal Obligations

If you have members of the public or visitors from outside your business visiting your commercial property, you will have a legal obligation to ensure no harm can come to your business’s visitors. Check your insurance policies for any stipulations in place that require property owners and businesses to keep walkways and parking areas clear of snow and ice. This will be a separate issue to your public liability insurance, and you could find that failing to comply with these regulations can result in fines or legal consequences. Regular snow and ice removal demonstrates your commitment to safety and compliance with the law, and may just be the clincher should snow fall from roofs, or icy paths cause harm to someone visiting your premises.


Uninterrupted Operations Is Always A Clincher

It might go without saying, if you have ever experienced heavy snow conditions affecting your business, but clear pathways ensure uninterrupted operations for businesses and public spaces. When entrances, car parks and pathways are obstructed by snow and ice, it can hinder foot traffic and vehicular access, affecting revenue and overall productivity. So take this task seriously to maintain a business-as-usual stance should the snow come down thickly.


Maintaining an “Accessible for All” Approach

Similarly to your legal obligations to maintain safety in adverse weather conditions, keeping paths clear is especially crucial for individuals with mobility challenges. It ensures that everyone, regardless of physical abilities, can access your property safely. Failure to provide accessible pathways can lead to discrimination claims.


Effective Winter Path Clearing Tips For Business Premises

  • Create a Snow Removal Plan: Develop a comprehensive snow and ice removal plan that outlines responsibilities, equipment, and procedures for clearing paths. Assign specific tasks to designated personnel or external grounds maintenance contractors.
  • Use Proper Equipment: Invest in the necessary snow removal equipment, including snow blowers, shovels, salt spreaders, and de-icing materials. Ensure that equipment is well-maintained and accessible when needed. An alternative investment is in a grounds maintenance service who will provide all the snow and gritting tools needed, which is a good option if your property is low on storage space.
  • Develop a Schedule: Establish a snow clearing schedule based on weather forecasts. Prioritise high-traffic areas, entrances and emergency exits. Be proactive and clear paths before snow and ice build up too much.
  • Maintain Adequate Lighting: Good lighting is essential during winter months. Ensure that pathways are well-lit to help pedestrians navigate safely, especially in the early morning and evening when it gets dark quickly.
  • Monitor Conditions: Regularly monitor weather conditions and adjust your snow and ice removal efforts accordingly. Be prepared for sudden snowstorms or freezing rain.
  • Prevent Icy Surfaces: Apply de-icing materials like salt, grit or sand to prevent the formation of ice on pathways. Focus on areas where ice is likely to accumulate, such as steps and ramps.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain records of your snow and ice removal efforts. Document the dates, times, and methods used for clearing paths. This documentation can be valuable in case of legal claims or compliance issues.

Clearing paths in winter is not just a matter of convenience; it's a fundamental aspect of ensuring safety and accessibility in commercial properties and public spaces. By implementing a proactive snow and ice removal plan, investing in the right equipment, and prioritising safety, you can create a winter environment that allows for uninterrupted operations and safe passage for all. Remember that a well-cleared path not only protects individuals from accidents but also protects your organisation from potential liabilities.


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