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Clearing Snow and Ice Safely
Posted by David Cant on February 9, 2012

Clearing Snow and Ice

The recent spell of wintery weather has caused a lot of chaos in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. There are many concerns about the dangers of ice and snow. Obviously the risks of slipping over are greatly increased and the amount of road accidents dramatically rises due to the ice on the roads, freezing fog and falling snow.

Anyone Is Able to Clear Away Snow from Public Pathways and Pavements?

One common health and safety myth surrounding snow is that members of the public are not allowed to clear the paths and public places of the accumulation of snow. However this is not the case, anyone is able to help reduce the risks of slips and falls by clearing away the snow and ice from any pavement either in their home or outside public places.

Follow the Snow Code

The government released The Snow Code to help the public work safely while carrying out the work in order to reduce any risks involved. Here are the tips and advice which you should follow and use to help you if you decide to start clearing pavements during this wintery period:

  1. It is the responsibility of people walking on the ice or snow to be careful. It is highly unlikely that you will be sued if someone falls once you have responsibly cleared the path.
  2. Work early in the day. Freshly settled snow is a lot easier to shovel and scrape away than hard compacted snow. By getting out in the morning it is possible to remove the excess before it is walked on and should be a lot more manageable. If any ice remains cover it with some salt and the sunshine should help to quickly melt it away.
  3. If you are trying to make steps or steep paths clearer it is important to have plenty of salt. Add more than you would normally once the snow has been removed as an extra safety precaution.
  4. Do not use the salt found in salt bins by the sides of roads. This is salt which is used on the roads to help prevent traffic accidents. Any type of kitchen or dishwasher salt is ideal for pathways. If you have no salt ash or sand can also be used to help people grip to the path.
  5. Never use hot water to melt the ice. There is a high chance that the water will cause black ice which can cause many injuries. Black ice is extremely slippery and not visible.
  6. When spreading the salt be careful to contain it to the path and away from plant life or grass as it could cause damage.
  7. Pay attention to where you place the snow which has been removed from the paths. Make sure that you do not block any drains or other paths in the process of clearing the one you are working on.
  8. When you start working on the path start by shovelling the middle of the bath first. This means you have a good surface to work on.
  9. Be a good neighbour and friend and offer to clear away the paths of your neighbours who may need a little helping hand. Check on your elderly or disabled neighbours and make sure they are coping in the colder weather.

If you have questions regarding health and safety in the workplace, and the additional issues surrounding wintery weather, contact health and safety consultants for advice. Call 0800 1488 677 for further assistance.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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This post has been filed in: Health and Safety Law, Health and Safety Management, Workplace Health and Safety

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