Severe winter weather in New Jersey often includes snow and freezing rain, both of which may cause a buildup of ice on sidewalks and other paved surfaces. Although patches of ice may look harmless, even small ones may cause an individual to slip and fall. Such accidents often lead to severe injuries, such as broken bones and concussions. When ice and snow build up on walkways and parking lots, it is essential for individuals to take steps to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
Falls related to ice and snow are fairly common accidents. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls relating to snow, ice or sleet accounted for over 42,000 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2014. In that same year, there were over 1,900 snow-and-ice-related falls that caused injuries in New Jersey. Within the state, these falls resulted in a median of 14 days away from work due to the associated occupational illnesses and injuries. It is important for property owners to remove snow and ice in order to create safe walkways and parking lots. In some cases, owners may be liable for accidents that occur due to improperly maintained pavement.
Individuals may follow several safety tips to reduce their chances of slipping and falling on ice. The Mayo Clinic states that a person may lower his or her center of gravity and improve stability by walking flat-footed and bending down slightly. People may want to use gloves or mittens instead of coat pockets for warmth, as having their hands free may improve balance and reduce injuries in the event of a fall. Taking short steps and walking slowly may reduce the chances of slipping on ice. It is essential to seek medical attention after a fall, especially if an individual does not know the extent of his or her injuries.