I clear my path or pavement outside my house?
Being a good neighbour and clearing
paths of ice and snow is the kind of practical step that most of us
can take during cold weather. In fact, a helping hand with this can
make all the difference for people who may be unable to clear their
own paths, or who need to use local paths to access services.
It's much easier to clear fresh snow,
so make a start before people squash it down if you can.
Shovelling snow can be strenuous work
and you should ensure that you are able, fit and well and take
clearing paths you should follow this advice
Do not use hot water. This will melt
the snow, but may well replace it with black ice, increasing the
risk of injury.
Choose suitable clothing for the
task, e.g. footwear that provides a good grip.
Do not take unnecessary risks in the
road. Traffic will find it difficult to stop quickly in icy
conditions. When clearing snow and ice, wear visible clothing that
helps traffic to see you.
If shovelling snow, think about
where you are going to put it, so that it does not block people's
paths or simply shift the problem elsewhere. Make sure it will not
cause problems when it melts. Piling snow over gullies or drains
may stop melting snow from draining away and allow it to
Clear a small path down the middle
of the area to be cleared first, so you have a safe surface to walk
on. You can then shovel from the centre to the sides.
Spread some grit on the area you
have cleared to prevent ice forming. If necessary, ordinary table
salt or dishwasher salt will work, but avoid spreading on plants or
grass. Don't use too much; a tablespoon for each square metre
cleared will be enough. It will take a little while to work.
If there is no salt available, then
a little sand or ash can be used. It will not have the same
de-icing properties as salt but should offer grip under foot.
Use the sun to your advantage.
Removing the top layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice
beneath, but you will need to cover any ice with salt to stop
Salt can be washed away by further
snowfalls or rain and then refreeze, leaving black ice. If this
happens more salt should be used soon after the rain has stopped
and before temperatures reach freezing.
Particular care and attention should
be given to steps and steep slopes. Additional salt could be used
in these areas to reduce the risk of slipping.
Try to sweep up any excess grit,
sand or other substances used come the thaw, to prevent these from
There is no law preventing you from
clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside or on paths to your
house (or any other building you are responsible for).
Provided you are careful, use common
sense and don't do anything which would be likely to cause harm or
distress to others, it is highly unlikely that you will be found
responsible for any accidents. In fact, it's prudent to make sure
your own property is safe for other people to use it. Users of areas affected
by snow and ice also have responsibilities to be careful
For everyday activities that you
might do to help your neighbours, in a personal capacity, your
ordinary household building or contents insurance will
generally provide personal liability cover. You will need
to take reasonable care, and should not take unnecessary
risks. If you are in doubt, you should check your policy or
ask your insurer.