Although it is still autumn, the frigid months of winter are just around the corner. For businesses in the Northeast, Midwest, and Atlantic coastal regions of the United States, winter months pose a serious threat to business. In addition to the threat of inclement weather shutting down business operations, property managers also face heightened risk of slip-and-fall accidents on stormy winter days. Snow, ice, and freezing rain combine to create a liability nightmare, in which property owners must be proactive and vigilant in the removal of snow and ice from the premises.
One of the most effective ways to proactively manage the threat posed by dark winter months is to develop a Snow Management Plan. Such a plan serves to guide maintenance personnel in responding to winter weather in such a way that is both thorough and cost effective.
Developing a Snow and Ice Management Plan
There are many reasons to develop best practices for responding to snow, ice, freezing rain, and other inclement weather elements that are associated with winter. A few noteworthy benefits include:
1. Improve storefront accessibility for patrons on foot.
The first reason for developing a plan to keep snow and ice in check this winter is rather straight-forward. By proactively clearing parking lots, sidewalks, stairways, and other points of access, businesses can ensure maximum accessibility to their storefront– and thus, their products and services– to pedestrians on foot.
2. Clear parking lots to reduce vehicular accidents.
Improving storefront accessibility is not the only reason for clearing parking lots, however. Keeping these areas free of snow and ice is vital in reducing the likelihood of on-site vehicular accidents. Reducing such accidents is likewise paramount to maintaining normal operations on days of inclement weather.
3. Earn cost efficiency over time.
The development of snow and ice management best practices also helps businesses achieve efficiencies that ultimately drive the cost of severe weather management down from season-to-season. Developing a coherent approach can be a challenge, however. There are obstacles that make this endeavor difficult, most important of which is the unpredictable nature of weather. Since snow and ice accumulation can vary daily– and even seasonally– management teams might have difficulty creating a single plan that adequately addresses all possible situations. Given this variance, it is also difficult for such a plan to adhere to budgetary constraints.
In an effort to help American businesses and commercial property owners overcome these obstacles, the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) has developed the following checklist for snow and ice management services.
4. Keep entryways safe for guests.
Snow and ice management plans have the potential to significantly improve visitor safety, especially during days of heavy snow, ice, or rain. By keeping parking lots, sidewalks, stairways, and other pedestrian areas cleared, maintenance personnel effectively reduce the level of incoming debris that would otherwise be tracked through entryways by guests’ shoes. Most important is improved snow and ice management, as these elements are particularly hazardous when left to accumulate in entryways and lobby areas. It is important to note, however, that maintenance personnel should remain alert to the accumulation of rock salt and the accidents it has the potential to cause.
5. Maintain pristine floor conditions.
An effective snow and ice management program protects the structural aspects of floor surfaces as well. As disclosed in a recent case study by American insurer CNA, floor surfaces (specifically slip-resistance) play a vital role in slips, trips, and falls. In short, clean and dry floor surfaces have a high level of slip-resistance, which gives pedestrians a firm sense of traction and decreases the likelihood of injury. By keeping snow and ice from entering the premises, property owners can proactively keep floor surfaces in good condition.
Winter Safety Products and Consultation
With more than 30 years experience and expertise, Eagle Mat proudly represents the finest in safety flooring, commercial floor mats, and other facility safety equipment. Our customer service team is available to help your organization create a safety-matting program that will keep facilities clean, dry, and safe throughout the winter, and beyond.
For additional information, including product consultation and specifications, contact our team online or call toll free 877-333-1018.