Keeping yourself and others safe in the snow.
As people across the UK brace themselves for the first arctic blast of the season, Health and Safety Minister Lord Freud is urging a common sense approach to clearing snow from footpaths and pavements.
There are no health and safety regulations that prevent people from clearing snow at their home, their business or at their neighbours’ homes, despite newspaper stories in previous winters to the contrary.
Minister for Health and Safety Lord Freud said:
People need to be aware that they will not be reprimanded for doing a good deed by clearing ice and snow. The truth is very simple: you can clear ice and snow from footpaths and pavements but always be careful that you don’t put yourself in danger. Countless lives have been saved and injuries prevented because of robust health and safety practices. But bogus excuses give real safety laws a bad name and stop people from taking action.
You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully.
How to clear snow and ice
When you clear snow and ice:
- do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
- don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice
- use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)
- you can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
- pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help
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