December 21, 2016

Happy First Day of Winter! Let’s get Through this Season Together

With the winter weather here to stay, homeowners should be keeping their property and areas, such as stairs and walkways, safe for people. Snow and ice, shifting of concrete and lighting are always things to look out for in the winter when it gets colder and the days get shorter. You may be held liable for any slips, trips and falls on your property if you don’t provide care to your property.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a list of common hazards to lookout for:

  • Ice and snow – use salt, shovel and/or sand to keep walking surfaces clear within bylaw timeframes.
  • Unexpected elevation changes, surface cracks or gaps – fix issues within your property line and/or report issues on municipally-owned property such as uneven sidewalks.
  • Slippery surfaces such as wet floors or tile flooring – put down a non-slip covering.
  • Missing or loose handrails on stairs – arrange repairs.
  • Debris such as slippery and wet fall leaves – keep walking paths clear.
  • Lighting – ensure all areas are adequately lit. (source)

Don’t forget, you may be held liable for slips, trips and falls on your property if you fail to keep it free from hazards. Regular maintenance is one of the most effective ways to prevent any slip, trip or fall and it’s also the most effective way to defend yourself against a claim or lawsuit if one should occur.

Falling off a ladder is more likely to happen in December due to overconfidence according to a report from CTV News Vancouver. CTV interviewed a B.C.-based organization called Community Against Preventable Injuries and they said men over 50 are more likely than any other demographic to suffer a preventable injury around the holidays. Dr. Ian Pike, a spokesperson for Preventable says, “People say, ‘I’m not going to get injured, I’ve done this 100,000 times before and nothing’s gone wrong.” (source). People tend to rush to do their tasks because there are a lot of other tasks to do. For example, decorating a house involves using a ladder. Don’t extend your reach too far to get the lights of quicker, but get off the ladder and move it over.

The organization’s message to everyone is: “Don’t cut corners. Do the job the right way.” (source)

Most slips, trips and falls can be prevented. Let’s all do our part and have a safe winter.