As a property owner, you want to do whatever you can to welcome visitors to your home or business and keep your family, employees and customers safe. Snow and ice on walkways, roadways, driveways and parking lots can present extra challenges during winter months.
Have a plan to stay ahead on snow and ice removal to minimize slips, falls and automobile accidents outside your home or business. Also protect against slip and fall hazards in interior vestibules, entrances and walkways by removing water, placing rugs or adding signage. You may want to contract with a commercial snow removal service for larger properties or businesses.
AT YOUR BUSINESS
- Create a snow removal plan that involves your staff, a contractor or a combination of the two to remove water, ice and snow.
- Maintain adequate supplies of snow-melt chemicals and sand.
- Mark all encumbrances and obstructions that may not be visible to snow-removal equipment.
- Identify emergency equipment such as fire hydrants, standpipes and post indicator valves – cast iron vertical indicator posts designed to operate the control valve of an automatic fire sprinkler system.
- Contract with a snow removal firm if your employees are not capable of adequately removing snow. Make sure the snow removal company has appropriate insurance coverage and adds you as an additional insured under its policy. .
- Consider how you’ll remove snow accumulation from the roof. Will it be done by employees or by a contractor? If a snowblower is used, be sure to set the height of the snowblower shave plate high enough to prevent damage to underlying roofing material.
- Be aware of local regulations about clearing sidewalks. Some communities have snow removal ordinances that require homeowners to remove snow within a specified time period (often 24 hours) from the part of the city sidewalk that adjoins their property. Homeowner and condo associations also may have specific rules about snow removal.
- Take care when shoveling to protect your back. Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines suggest pushing snow rather than lifting it whenever possible and taking frequent breaks to avoid frostbite or exhaustion.
- If you use a snowblower, protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide dangers. Don’t try to clear clogs by hand. Consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Snow Thrower Safety guidebook.
- You may choose to salt your sidewalk, driveway or parking areas for safety. If you are concerned about environmental effects of salt, the Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service has a guide to deicing compounds and environmentally friendly alternatives.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.