Winter Weather: Walkways and Parking Lots

By November 27, 2018Millers News

Each year, pedestrians slip and fall on walkways or parking lots on ice and snow. If management fails to maintain sidewalks or parking lots, then claims are likely to follow. In general, walkways and parking lots are expected to be maintained in a reasonably safe condition (e.g., in good repair or free of snow, ice, and other materials). This checklist offers risk control issues to consider when inspecting existing sidewalks and parking lots for liability concerns.

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Planning

Is there a plan to inspect and repair walkways and parking lots in the fall so that all repairs are complete in advance of the first winter storm?

Do snow removal plans need adjustment to provide adequate removal or treatment of walkways and parking lots?

Do snow removal plans include the use of anti-icing chemicals to prevent the development of ice on walkways?

Have application rates been calculated so that the recommended rates are used to pretreat walkways to limit slip and fall potential?

Is there a chance that neighboring businesses, such as churches, retail shops, etc., might rely on the walkways or parking lot when the property is not occupied?

Have arrangements been made to clear walkways and parking lots regardless of whether the facility is occupied?

Walkway and Parking Lot Inspection

Are there sections of walkways with elevation differences more than the depth of three pennies? If so, repair walkway to eliminate tripping hazards.

Have arrangements been made for the storage of snow so that if it melts, it does not become a hazard?

Is there proper lighting for walkways and parking lots so that the path is clearly marked and hazards identifiable throughout the day?

Are areas prone to falling snow or ice cordoned off to limit the potential for injury?

Have curbs and other potential tripping hazards been staked so that they are observable after a winter storm?

Is there periodic, physical inspection of walkways and parking lots?

Slip and Fall Documentation and Incident Reporting

Are records of treatment and snow/ice removal maintained for walkways and parking lots?

When there is an incident, are photographs of the walkway or parking lot required?

Does the incident reporting form include a description of the walkway or surface, weather conditions, footwear worn by the injured party, witness statements, etc.?