As the Fourth of July approaches, many Americans eagerly anticipate the festivities and gatherings that come with the holiday – and that often means barbecues with family and friends.
Unfortunately, festivities can turn tragic if someone is injured, so it’s wise to pay attention to some of the dangers that seem to come hand-in-hand with Independence Day.
4 main areas of concern
A Fourth of July celebration entails numerous potential hazards, some of which may lead to accidents or injuries. Common hazards at barbecues may include:
- Grilling safety: A lack of proper supervision, improper handling of flammable materials, or malfunctioning equipment can lead to burns, fires or even explosions. Hosts should ensure that grills are placed in a safe location away from flammable objects and that someone responsible is monitoring the cooking process.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Outdoor areas where barbecues are typically held can present hazards like uneven surfaces, loose objects or slippery conditions. Hosts should inspect their premises beforehand, fix any potential tripping hazards and ensure proper lighting for evening events as part of their obligation to exercise reasonable care. That may also mean warning guests of known dangers (like an open fire pit).
- Food safety: Improper food handling and storage can result in foodborne illnesses, which can quickly spoil a festive atmosphere. Hosts should practice safe food preparation and storage and keep perishable items stored at the correct temperature.
- Fireworks: When mishandled, fireworks can cause severe injuries or property damage. If fireworks are part of the celebration, hosts are expected to follow local laws, provide a designated area for fireworks and educate guests about proper handling and safety precautions.
While accidents can happen anywhere, property owners are expected to maintain a safe environment for their guests, including taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. If you are injured because your host didn’t bother to take enough safety precautions, it may be time to find out what legal options you have to recover your losses.