6g / sq foot
Salt / Grit Application Guide
15g / sq foot
Approximate estimated usage for impervious surfaces using BS3247 grade rock salt - situation dependent.
I heard that if you clear snow or ice and don't clear it properly you can get sued if someone falls, is this true?
The latest Government advice confirms that despite some media reports to the contrary, it is extremely unlikely that someone who has attempted to clear snow in a careful manner will be sued or held legally responsible if someone slips or falls on their property.
This view has been reflected in the Government's website DirectGov "people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves."
It advises that people follow the Snow Code and use salt or grit on icy patches and snow on pathways - DO NOT USE WATER TO MELT ICE OR SNOW - "If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice."
Further to this, there is an obligation on business owners to clear the publicly accessible areas of their premises. It is more likely that a business will be held responsible for a slip on ice or snow where it is perceivable that they would have known of the hazard and done nothing about it.
Should you clear snow and ice from outside your work premises?
The Government advice is clear. There is a duty of care on business owners who are obligated to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances for the safety of visitors. For example, a station car park is a place to which drivers are "invited" as are rail passengers and leaving it un-gritted on an icy night is a breach of the duty of the station owner or controller under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957; The duty in negligence is the same as the duty under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957.
Should you clear snow and ice from outside your home?
The Government advises not to be put off by clearing snow or ice outside your home as people walking on snow or ice have a responsibility to look after themselves. It also recommends that you should offer to clear your neighbours’ paths especially if they would have difficulty getting in and out of their home in particular for elderly and disabled neighbours.
The person clearing the snow does have responsibilities when clearing snow or ice, mainly to ensure that they are not making the area more dangerous by allowing it to refreeze - i.e by using boiling water to melt the snow or ice which will eventually re-freeze. - Salt or Grit should always be used.
Will I be held responsible and sued if someone slips on snow or ice after I have cleared it?
The person clearing the snow does have responsibilities when clearing snow or ice, mainly to ensure that they are not making the area more dangerous by allowing it to refreeze - i.e by using boiling water to melt the snow or ice which will eventually re-freeze. - Salt or Grit should always be used. The Governments advice is that it is extremely unlikely that someone who has attempted to clear snow in a careful manner will be sued or held legally responsible if someone slips or falls on their property. Always follow the Snow Code so you adhere to the Government's own guidelines. If you clear your own premises from snow or ice, you must ensure that you do not deposit the snow on a right of way or any other location where it may cause an obstruction or hazard.
It is more likely that you will be held responsible for a slip on ice or snow where it is perceivable that you would have known of the hazard and done nothing about it.
What is the law surrounding clearing snow and ice from a work premises?
The law is based on the owner or operator of the business premises to provide a duty of care to your customers especially where you have a carpark area and customers are 'invited'. If the liability is for negligence there may be liability under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957. Where someone is likely to walk on your property, and you also know that it is slippery, you must take reasonable steps to keep those people safe.
What does the law say about the Council's obligation to clear roads, footpaths and carparks?
Under the Highways Act 1980, the council must ensure that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. Private carparks and footpaths are the obligation of the owner. There is still some ambiguity surrounding the Council's obligation (legal or moral) to clear publicly owned footpaths. According to the Highways Act 1980, Councils are required to ensure the public can have safe passage “so far as is reasonably practicable” on roads and pavements. In addition to using gritting vehicles and snow-ploughs to keep roads and pavements free of ice and snow, most councils also provide grit bins, usually located on steep gradients or near sharp bends, so that members of the public can spread grit to reduce the slipping hazard. You can contact your local council for further information.
Is there a set procedure for clearing snow and ice?
Yes, you should follow the Government's advice on clearing ice and snow which it calls the Snow Code. The following advice can be found on the Government advice site www.direct.gov.uk
How much salt or grit will i need?
The amount of salt, grit or ice melt will depend on a number of factors including ground moisture, whether it is put down directly onto snow, the humidity of the snow, wind, traffic, further snowfall, shade, ground and air temperatures etc.
As a rough guide you can work on the following :
Example 1: Works yard and access road
1500sqf - approx 15kg per application
You may need to apply 2 or 3 times in a 24 hour period depending on traffic and conditions. Best applying in the evening before the cold night sets in, then again after fresh snow has been cleared in the morning and possibly again during the day.
If snow and/or icy conditions last for 3 weeks, you could use as much as 50+ 25kg bags.
Example 2: Shop/School/Hall car park - 9 car parking spaces
Approx 500sqf - approx 7kg per application
If snow and/or icy conditions are set to last 3 weeks, you are best having approximately 20 bags at hand.
Best application is using a grit spreader to get an even spread especially in large areas without the clumping associated with shovel-scattering.
These are only a rough guide and you may need more than the amounts shown above especially in worsening conditions, where spreading may have to take place several times a day in heavy snow. Always clear snow away when possible before spreading grit.
How long will the salt keep if i dont use it?
Remember, if you dont use all the salt you buy this year, as long as it is stored properly it will still be there for next year. In fact if it is stored in a dry environment or at least where it is not directly going to get wet it should last for many years.
The Snow Code - tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces
If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured.
Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.
Clear the snow or ice early in the day
It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, 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.
Use salt or sand - not water
If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.
Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage.
If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.
Take care where you move the snow
When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths
If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.
Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.
* This page is not intended to provide you with advice on the law relating to any specific issues. You should satisfy yourself as to your own legal obligations seeking professional advice where appropriate.