Smith-Jones

Winter Risks: Slips, Trips and Falls

slipstrips-and-fallsTemperatures are starting to drop, and winter is upon us, bringing with it shorter daylight hours and harsher weather conditions. Due to the various changes that occur over the winter period, there are certain accidents which are more likely to occur, such as road traffic accidents, cycle accidents, accidents at work, and slips, trips and falls. Over the next few weeks we will be giving you information and advice on these types of accident, starting with slips, trips and falls.

Slips, trips and falls, can be pretty traumatic and can lead to some long-lasting injuries. It is not surprising to learn that these accidents occur more often in the winter due to the bleak weather conditions. Ice, snow and rain can all contribute to the risk of slipping both indoors and outdoors. For example, outside pedestrians are at risk of slipping on snow, ice, mud and leaves.

Winter shoes or boots can help to keep your feet warm while walking through the cold snow outside. The tread and increased grip of winter shoes also makes them rather effective at keeping you upright on wet and icy surfaces. Winter shoes are a good investment to help prevent any slipping, but they do not eliminate it all together. To further reduce the risk of sustaining injury in winter whilst outside, try to stick to gritted, well-lit areas where there is minimal snow and ice.

People may also be at a greater of slipping indoors over the winter months. Snow and rain can get dragged inside on people’s shoes, this often creates hazards in the doorways and walkways in shops. It is the obligation of the shop owner to ensure that shop entrances and floors are safe for visitors to their premises. If you think that the entrance or the floor in a shop may be dangerous, then you should report it to a member of staff, as they should be able to clean it and prevent other people from being injured.

Certain people may be more vulnerable to injury if they slip in the winter months. Elderly people sometimes suffer problems with balance or muscle weakness and as such they will be more likely to fall and injure themselves.[1] To avoid serious injury, it may be an idea to avoid going out unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do leave the house, then you could ask a friend or a neighbour to help clear a path. Sticking to gritted areas or using walking aids, such as walking poles and sticks, may help to give you greater balance.[2] Wrapping up will not only help to keep you warm, but may also help to protect areas vulnerable to injury.[3]

Potholes, or defects on pavements, can be a problem all year round. They pose a particular threat when weather conditions are poor, as they may be covered by leaves, snow, ice or rain water. This means that they are harder to spot and that you may not know about it until it’s too late. Harsh weather can also make potholes worse[4] and more common, making it more likely that you will encounter one this winter. To avoid any unexpected tripping accidents, you should try and avoid areas which have not been cleared or where you cannot see the ground.

Following the above advice may help you avoid a slip, trip or a fall, this winter. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer an accident this winter, Smith Jones may be able to help you make a claim for compensation. To find out whether you can make a claim, call 0800 195 9590 to talk to one of our experts today.

 

[1] NHS Choices, ‘Falls’ (Published 15th May 2015) <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls/>

[2] RoSPA, ‘Winter Safety’ (Published 12th January 2017) <https://www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/winter/>

[3] RoSPA, ‘Winter Safety’ (Published 12th January 2017) <https://www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/winter/>

[4] RAC, ‘Pothole-related breakdowns up despite mild weather’ (Published 15th May 2017) <https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/pothole-related-breakdowns-up-despite-mild-weather/>