The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued safety tips to employers and employees for clearing winter weather. However, Georgia businesses and homeowners could also find these tips useful to avoid premises liability claims.
Aside from cold stress, falls from heights and slip hazards are two areas of concern during the winter. Snow and ice makes surfaces slippery, which increases the risk of falls and slips as people walk across those surfaces.
Workers are at a higher risk of falls as they clear snow and ice from stairs and roofs. To prevent falls, OSHA advises employers to ensure that their workers are using fall protection equipment or guardrails. Businesses and residents could take this advice as well. Along with ensuring that stairs are cleared of snow and ice, they should have proper railing on stairs so that patrons and guests have extra protection against the risk of falling.
Sometimes people suffer slip-and-fall injuries that are just as serious as the injuries that others suffer when they fall from heights. To prevent such occurrences, OSHA urges employers and workers to ensure that they wear proper footwear and take smaller steps as they clear snow and ice from walking surfaces, such as sidewalks.
Additionally, the agency advises them to spread deicer on icy surfaces, which residents can also do. Spreading deicer prevents surfaces from refreezing and improves safety so that employees, customers and residential visitors are all less likely to slip or trip because of icy surfaces.
When customers or residential visitors become injured because businesses or homeowners did not take sufficient measures, such as the above safety tips, to reduce the risk of injury, the victims may want to consult with an attorney who has experience in premises liability litigation. Successful plaintiffs could recover the financial damages related to their injuries, including medical bills.