Summer is a time when many of us host events, have friends drop by and have work done on the house. All this can mean added visitors to your home, which means that now is a good time to re-evaluate the safety of your property. If a delivery person, worker, post office employee or other visitor to your home sustains a personal injury, has a slip and fall accident, or has an accident, you could be held responsible.
Many of us assume that we only need to worry about premises liability in the winter, when less natural light and wetter conditions increase the likelihood of accidents. However, summer also has its unique hazards which can result in injuries and legal problems. More outdoor work and play can mean that more objects are left around the yard. Insects can set up nests on your property. Dogs are often relegated to the outdoors in the summer, where they can pose a risk for visitors.
There are, however, several things that homeowners can do to ensure that their homes remain safe and welcoming throughout summer:
1) Regularly clean your yard, walkway, and driveway of tripping obstacles and leaves. Remove leaves quickly, as they can get very slippery after a summer shower. Get in the habit of removing toys and tools from your yard when you head back indoors. Before retiring for the evening, make it a habit to look over your property to make sure that there are no tripping obstacles.
2) Make sure that painted stairs and asphalt have traction strips. Traction strips are available at your local hardware store and are important, since painted stairs and asphalt can be very slippery.
3) Trim back tree branches and hedges. Be especially vigilant about thorny or sharp hedges that jut out into walking areas. Also, regularly check for overhead tree branches and for hedges and plants that grow over a walkway and pose a tripping hazards.
4) Remove bee and hornet nests from your property. Be especially careful about nests that are near entranceways, stairs, and walkways. An unsuspecting visitor can brush by a nest and unleash a swarm of stinging insects, which can be dangerous. For small nests, most hardware stores have kits. For larger nests, professional exterminators might be needed.
5) Keep dogs restrained. Keep your dog on a leash, especially if you know there are visitors, postal workers or other people coming to your property. Take your dog to obedience classes and keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date. Dog bites are a serious summer risk.