Employers have a duty to prevent employees, visitors and members of the public from being injured by tripping, slipping or falling. During the winter months, this may involve the use of grit.
Where to apply grit to prevent slips, trips and falls
The first step of successfully preventing injuries by slipping is to identify those outdoor areas most likely to represent a risk of slipping injuries when affected by ice and/or snow. Such areas may, for instance, include:
- Car parks.
- Walkways and short cuts.
- Building entrances.
- Ramps and other sloped areas.
- Areas that are continually wet or in shade.
- Dry surfaces likely to be affected by freezing morning dew.
Loading bays and other areas that are partially outdoors may also be affected by frost and therefore also need to be considered.
Best type of grit for preventing slipping accidents
Plain or treated rock salt, as used by highways agencies on public roads, is the most commonly used type of grit. It is available from most builders’ merchants. The salt in this ‘grit’ has the ability to melt existing snow and ice, as well as preventing the formation of ice.
When to apply grit
Grit should be applied when potentially wet or damp walkways are likely to be exposed to ground temperatures at or below freezing and/or when frost, ice or snow have been forecast. As rock salt requires time to work effectively, it is best to grit before frost settles early in the evening or very early in the morning, leaving plenty of time before employees or members of the public are likely to arrive.
Potential issues with gritting
It can be difficult to treat compacted snow that is turning into ice effectively with grit, potentially making it necessary to break up the compacted surface before applying the grit. In addition, weather conditions are often difficult to predict correctly. If predicted snowfall is preceded by heavy rain, for instance, the grit may be washed away before it has a chance to prevent slip injuries once the rain turns into snow.
Employees and members of the public injured by slips through inadequate gritting may be entitled to claim for compensation. If you sustained an injury by slipping on icy surfaces during the past three years, call an Accident Advice Helpline adviser on 0800 689 0500 or fill in the compensation calculator on our website to determine your claim eligibility and initiate your no win no fee* claim.
Date Published: February 12, 2014
Author: David Brown