Winter’s ice and snow makes it one of the most hazardous times of year for slip-and-fall accidents. All it takes is a small patch of ice, wet floor or unshoveled sidewalk for someone to slip, trip and fall. Slip-and-falls can cause severe injuries, including spinal cord damage, broken bones and lacerations, a fact known by a slip-and-fall attorney in Illinois. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. In order to stay safe this winter, consider taking the following precautions in order to prevent a fall:
- Keep walking surfaces free from ice and snow
People are more likely to fall as snow and ice accumulate on walking surfaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that businesses and homeowners shovel their walks and driveways as soon as possible after it snows. Sprinkling a deicer or salt on the walkways will keep ice from forming, and may prevent a traumatic fall.
- Wear winter footwear when walking outside
Winter boots and shoes have thicker tread that will grip the ground as one walks through the snow or over ice. This can be extremely helpful when traversing over icy and snowy areas that have not been shoveled.
- Use water-absorbent mats in entryways
When people trek water and snow in from outdoors, it can be catastrophic. This is especially true if the floor has a smooth surface, such as ceramic, laminate or tile. The New York State Insurance Fund suggests placing a mat that is designed to absorb water in the entryways of homes and businesses. These mats can help to keep floors safe and dry. When there are wet weather conditions outside, businesses may want to place a caution sign at the doorways, alerting customers that there are wet floors ahead. A slip-and-fall attorney in Illinois notes that this simple step can help prevent a serious accident.
- Allow plenty of time
When it is snowy outside, people should allow for extra time to get to their destinations. Pedestrians navigating icy sidewalks should walk cautiously, deliberately and take their time. Many slip-and-fall accidents and injuries occur when people are rushing, and do not pay attention to the surface conditions under their feet.
People should keep in mind that even if the walkways look free from ice, there still may be ice present. Some surface may have a slight dusting of snow covering a thick slab of ice. A slip-and-fall attorney in Illinois agrees that it is best to play it safe and walk carefully when navigating snowy and icy surfaces. People who do slip-and-fall may want to contact an attorney for legal counsel.