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What responsibilities do property owners have this winter?

As you make your way around the city this winter, you will probably encounter numerous ways to slip and fall. From the ice-covered parking lot at your apartment complex to the muddy, wet tile floor in the grocery store’s entryway, there is no shortage of hazardous situations when the weather turns bad. You and other Missouri residents will need to navigate the streets carefully if you want to get through the season without taking a spill.

However, it is not entirely up to you to avoid slipping, falling and injuring yourself this winter. When it comes to keeping walkways, stairs, parking lots and entryways safe, a great deal of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of property owners and managers. According to EHS Today, a significant portion of workplace injuries result from slip-and-fall accidents. You do not have to be an employee to be injured in a fall, however. You are just as likely to slip in an icy parking lot doing your shopping as you would be if you were an employee reporting to work.

Apartment managers, store owners and others in charge of properties where you live, work or do business should take appropriate measures to keep the premises safe. In the winter, these precautions would include de-icing parking lots and sidewalks, clearing walkways of snow and making sure handrails and steps are hazard-free. When there are puddles or spills on hard floors, property managers should make sure the area is mopped up and place signs warning that the floor is wet or slippery. They should also place mats in high-traffic areas where people are likely to track in mud, slush and rainwater.

You should always be careful where you step, but it is just as important for property owners to do their part, or you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. However, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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