According to the National Safety Council, winter-weather-related deaths have risen 35 percent since 2017. Additionally, tens of thousands of workplace injuries occur each year due to ice, sleet, and snow. Whether you own a business or a home, keeping surfaces safe can prevent cold weather hazards from becoming a dangerous season for patrons, guests, and employees.
Below I’ll tell you how to protect guests, patrons, and your family as we head into the snowiest time of the year in Northern New Jersey. If you are injured this winter and are concerned that it was due to someone else’s negligence, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates: a Northern New Jersey slip and fall attorney may be able to help.
1. Remove Snow and Ice as Soon as Possible
From sidewalks to parking lots, ice and snow are the most likely culprits when it comes to winter accidents including winter driving accidents. Under New Jersey law, owners of residential properties must remove snow from sidewalks 8 hours after snowfall stops.
Commercial property owners have an even shorter removal window of 4 hours after snowfall. (If snow falls overnight, they have 8 hours after it stops to shovel.) Shoveling snow, salting, and sanding driveways and parking lots is also key. Ideally, make sure you’ve completed your snow and ice removal before visitors arrive. Since potholes, cracks, and other uneven surfaces can create even more potential for slips, have them repaired before the winter months arrive.
2. Clean up Melted Snow and Ice Indoors
While indoors is often safer than out-, during winter, floors, stairs, and entryways with melted snow and ice can cause trouble. For starters, place a doormat at the entrance of your home or business: this can significantly cut down the likelihood of puddles. Also keep a mop handy so you can clean up puddles before someone slips.
If you own a business and surfaces are slick, putting up caution signs is key. You have a legal duty to warn guests about dangerous conditions; otherwise you’ll risk being considered negligent if a visitor sustains an injury that you failed to point out.
3. Adjust Outdoor Gutters and Lighting
A common safety hazard occurs when water freezes, thaws, and refreezes outdoors, and gutters and downspouts are major causes of this issue. Adjust your gutters and downspouts so that they flow away from walkways. This will prevent this cycle from occurring.
Additionally, having good lighting, especially in the dark morning hours and after sundown, is essential. Make sure to check that outdoor lighting is working, and that sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways are well-lit. This will make it much easier for employees and guests to see patches of snow and ice.
4. Remind Guests and Family About Safety
There are many things we can do to reduce our chances of a slip or fall in winter. Safety precautions like walking slowly with short steps, using handrails, and looking out for snow, ice, or other hazards, are essential. Not using a cell phone while walking on ice, wearing boots rather than heels or slick-soled shoes, and only using cleared paths for walking are all important steps we can take to protect ourselves. Remind family, friends, and guests of the importance of these small actions.
Were You Seriously Injured from a Winter Accident?
If you are injured in a winter accident and suspect that you were harmed due to someone’s negligence, working with a personal injury lawyer in Northern New Jersey can be helpful. A lawyer can help you gather evidence and create a strong case in court. This is especially important if you are seriously injured, as medical bills can quickly become expensive.
If you’ve had an accident and want to learn whether you have a case, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates today.