The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has advised retailers to follow the Department for Transport’s Snow Code when moving snow and ice outside their stores.

Under Health and Safety law, businesses are required (so far as is reasonably practicable) to keep routes into the store free from anything that may cause a person to slip, trip or fall. This may involve clearing snow from paths which customers and employees frequently use to gain access to the store. However, there is no need to clear an entire area of snow if customers or staff members are unlikely to walk on it.

There is no law preventing retailers from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside their store, from pathways to the store or from public spaces. By following the advice from the Department for Transport, retailers can make sure pathways to their stores are cleared safely and effectively.

The Department for Transport Snow Code says when clearing snow and ice:

• do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow;

• don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice;

• use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear);

• ash and sand can be used if there is not enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot;

• pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help;

• take care where snow is put so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure there is a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so there is a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.

Retailers should contact their local council for more advice on gritting in their local area.