top of page

Leaves - the autumn friend or foe

It's autumn and one thing can be guaranteed. Leaves will change colour and eventually fall to the ground.

I love autumn. I love the colours of the trees as they change from the green of summer to a natural festival of browns, oranges, reds and yellows. Watching this is good for the spirit, and for mental health. And when they fall, nothing can beat taking a walk and kicking a pile of dried leaves. Okay that may just be me, but autumn is one of nature's gifts.

However for many businesses it can be a nightmare.

The obvious one is the annual issue of delayed and cancelled trains caused by leaves on the line. Wet and windy autumnal weather blows moist leaves on top of the rails, where they stick and render the track hazardous. Those in the rail industry call the problem 'low rail adhesion', and it leads to wheels slipping and sliding when braking or accelerating. In addition, the signals use electric currents in the track to locate trains, which becomes less accurate if there are leaves on the line.

But it isn't just on the railways. Leaves can block drains and can cause floods around business premises.

If there are areas of heavy fall, particularly on paths, they mulch together and become extremely slippery. If a path used by the public is on your property, you have a legal obligation to protect the public on that path. If the leaves are not cleared, and someone slips, then you may be at fault.

The paths always forgotten are routes from rear fire exit doors. In an emergency evacuation, the last thing you need is people slipping and sliding their way to the assembly point.

The Health and Safety Executive advise businesses to put in procedures for removing leaves at regular intervals.

We all want trees. We need trees. We love the autumn colours they bring. But with that, remember that once they fall, they can cause health and safety issues if not managed. As the leaves start to fall this autumn, remember to keep people safe and keep your paths and drains clear.


The Content on Our Site,, including this blog post, does not constitute advice on which you should rely.  It is provided for general information purposes only.  Professional or specialist advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to health and safety in the workplace. We make no representation, warranty, or guarantee that Our Site will meet your requirements, that it will not infringe the rights of third parties, that it will be compatible with all software and hardware, or that it will be secure. We make reasonable efforts to ensure that the Content on Our Site is complete, accurate, and up-to-date.  We do not, however, make any representations, warranties or guarantees (whether express or implied) that the Content is complete, accurate, or up-to-date. If you subscribe via this site, we store your email with our email marketing and website provider Wix. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data privacy regulation to protect all EU citizens’ data. It gives our customers, among other requirements, the right to receive or delete all their personal data. If you wish to do this please email us via the Contact us page and we will request this from Wix. This website is © KSH Safety Services

bottom of page