Over recent years, increasingly extreme weather patterns and snowfall are causing disruption to sports and social clubs all over the UK, creating hazards that can lead to costly slips and falls. If it is your responsibility to make sure areas are accessible and safe, you MUST take measures to protect your venue from personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Gritting and Protecting Surfaces
Arrangements should be made to minimise risks from snow and ice, by gritting, snow clearing and closure of some pathways, particularly outside stairs.
If you’re responsible for external areas keep a good supply of grit handy to help clear them. Gritting is not however an automatic way of ensuring you are blameless, but it is definitely recommended, especially around important thoroughfares like car-parks, entrances and exits.
Temporary closures and footwear
If some pathways or entrances become too dangerous or troublesome to clear, place barriers and signs to close any footpaths that may propose a significant risk.
Also making sure all employees are wearing correct footwear is advisable to help protect against avoidable slips/falls. Alternatively if your clothing policy typically involves smarter shoes or pumps, it could be worthwhile to allow boots or more hard-wearing footwear during winter.
Preparation as well as reaction
Ignorance is not a defence against a claim, so make sure you take an active role in protecting yourself and find out what areas you have responsibility for.
Paying close attention to what the MET office are predicting is also your responsibility, and can help you get a head start in preparing for upcoming hazardous conditions such as pre-emptively laying down grit.
As always, document as much as possible, retain invoices and receipts for items, to show you have taken an active effort to combat the problems and potential dangers caused by snow and ice. Make a log that includes what days and what times you have arranged to have snow and ice cleared (which should be on as regular a basis as possible). Remember that a claimant has three years from the date of the incident in which to pursue a claim so it is important that you retain any checklist and logs for at least this period.
Any incidents which could give rise to a claim must be notified through to your Insurers via our claims department.. You should arrange to take photos of the area where the accident took place to demonstrate conditions at the time, especially if you have made significant attempts to make your establishment safer. It is advisable to attempt this in a discrete manner as you do not want to attract a claim from someone who had not considered this option until they had seen you obtaining evidence! If you have CCCTV covering the area please ensure that any images are burned to disc and retained securely for three years.
Written Warnings and Signage
Arrange to have some written Instructions and warning signage to inform members of the public that there is a risk of falling and that reasonable care should be taken. Not providing these warning signs leaves you more open to a liability claim.
There are some other concerns when the weather takes a turn for the worse especially if you are a sports facility, such as protecting your pitches and playing fields. We covered this in our blog which explains how to keep your pitches and facilities better protected from flooding and other forms of disruptive weather.
To get in touch to discuss about how Club Insure could be the right choice for your venue, and why we are one of the top insurance brokers for the sports and social club industry, contact one of our experienced professionals on 0844 488 9204 or use our contact form.