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Most of the time, when people think of commercial snow removal, they imagine plowing and clearing large, open spaces like parking lots, garages, or even driveways. But outdoor walking areas like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, and loading areas pose arguably even more risk and require just as much attention. In an effort to make your winter a little safer, here is a list of ways to make sure your business or property’s walkways are getting the attention required to ensure the safety of everyone who interacts with it.  

Poor Maintenance Puts You at Risk

Plowing and clearing a parking lot or garage is a large task, and sometimes this can be very distracting from the smaller tasks associated with winter property management and maintenance. Zurich Insurance published a study revealing that outdoor sidewalks, ramps, and stairs account for 36% of all slip & fall claims which is actually higher than the amount occurring in parking lots and garages falling at 35%. This insurance group also found that the average settlement amount resulting from accidents which occured on sidewalks and other outdoor areas ($19,100) was actually higher than those occurring in parking lots or garages ($12,808). 

Why the Company You Choose Matters

Seasonal positions like those available in the snow removal industry can be difficult to fill. General labor jobs are difficult as is, but this employment rate poses even more of a challenge. Snow removal companies who are on trend will be looking for ways to avoid being affected by labor shortages and to provide uninterrupted service to their customers. 

Be sure to choose a snow removal company that makes an effort to keep up with the industry. These companies will be on the lookout for ways to mechanize the snow and ice removal process, especially in tight spaces like those outdoor walkways – stairs, ramps, and sidewalks. Examples of this include utility vehicles with plows or de-icing gear attachments, mechanized brooms, and stand-on equipment. These all allow faster clearance of snow and ice than what is possible with just the traditional sidewalk shoveler. Smaller, less developed companies may not have access to the larger equipment and tools referenced here, and this may limit their efficiency. And unfortunately, in the snow and ice removal business, efficiency means safety and lower liability for you and your business. The more quickly your property is clear of dangerous conditions, the less time there is for customers and workers to be exposed to dangerous conditions prone to slip & fall accidents. 

Is your contractor asking the right questions about your property?

Every business property has different features and details that will require specific care during the winter weather. For example, the emergency department of a hospital is open 24/7 and has much greater exposure and risk than a retail shop that is closed during the evenings. Your snow removal contracts would be concerned with your hours of operations. If you have accessibility ramps on your property for disabled patrons, this may require more than just a salt treatment to ensure the surface is completely safe for wheelchair or walker accessibility. How many walkways, ramps, and sidewalks are present on your property? These are the types of questions your contractor should be asking. A pre-season property inspection is a great best-practice for snow removal businesses. This way, they can get a good look at your property outside of risky conditions to prepare them to do thorough work when winter weather does come.

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this Website and blog is intended for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the direct opinions, views or practices of Swenson Consulting or its consultants. The individuals who maintain this blog work for Swenson Consulting. The information, comments and links posted on this blog do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been or will be formed by any communication(s) to, from or with the blog and/or the blogger. All decisions relating to the content of the website blog belong to the blogger and management company responsible for the blog for the purpose of aggregating relative industry specific information related to snow removal.

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