More than half of UK adults have fallen on an icy pavement. Be a Snow Angel and help keep pavements near you ice-free this winter.
In hard winters, thousands of people in the UK are admitted to hospital after slipping on ice or snow. For older people, the fear of falling may prevent them going out altogether.
Here's how you can help to make walking safer and easier this winter.
Become a Snow Angel!
There are all sorts of ways to be a Snow Angel.
- Help older or vulnerable neighbours to access their local shops, collect their pension or prescription
- Ensure neighbours are not left alone and isolated when the weather turns cold
- Join your local council's volunteer scheme - like Jayne in Cumbria (pictured)
- Get ready to clear the ice or snow outside your home and your neighbours'
Guidance on setting up a new scheme
Whether you're a council representative, a community group or an individual, have a look at our guidance on setting up a scheme to support volunteers to clear snow and ice from pavements.
Want to be a great gritter? Check out our top gritting tips below.
- Rock salt is the most commonly used to clear snow and ice and prevent ice formation – it’s relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread. Bags of rock salt can be purchased from most large builders' merchants at an average cost of £10 for a 20kg bag.
- Get your neighbours involved! Working together to grit your local street is a great way to strengthen your community and make the area safer for everyone.
- You should grit when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times of the day to grit are early in evening before the frost settles or early in the morning, before people start leaving their houses. Salt doesn’t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the floor.
- Use salt or sand (it provides a good grip), but not hot water! It may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice is hard to see and very slippery, increasing the risk of falls.
- Avoid gritting when it’s raining heavily as the salt will be washed away, causing a problem if the rain then turns to snow. Compacted snow, which turns to ice, is difficult to treat effectively with grit.
- Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may damage them.
- Look out for ‘dawn frost’ that can occur on dry surfaces when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface
- If you're shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn't block people's paths or drains.
- If there is snow on the ground, remove the top layer of snow in the morning and any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight
In 2010, the government implemented a Snow Code following a strong campaign from Living Streets. This states that you are unlikely to be sued or held legally responsible for injury if you clear snow and ice from the pavement.
The same year Lord Young of Graffham addressed the issue directly in a report to the Prime Minister the same year – following a Whitehall wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture (‘Common Sense, Common Safety’ 2010). He concluded that:
“In fact there is no liability in the normal way, and the Lord Chief Justice himself is reported as saying that he had never come across a case where someone was sued in these circumstances…. There is no liability in such cases unless negligence can be proved.”
To find out how to clear responsibly, and minimise risk to yourself and others, read our top gritting tips and the government's Snow Code to find out more. We recommend that councils and other organisations coordinating Snow Angel schemes ensure their volunteers are covered by their Public Liability and Employers Liability Insurance.
Salt used to melt ice on driveways, pavements and roads can lead to chemical burns on dog paws. If your dog is limping by end of a walk, de-icing products may be hurting his feet. Try to keep your dog off the salty footways (think grass or snow) whenever possible. At the end of your walk wipe your dog’s paws thoroughly with a damp cloth. There are various types of paw wax available that can is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk, forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty pavement.