Winter Refresher: 5 Tips to Prevent Falls, Accidents & Lawsuits

admin Building Maintenance Services, Commercial, Insurance

Simple strategies to prevent not-so-simple building issues during winter.

Winter is just around the corner, and the snow and ice it brings can aggravate even the most experienced, organized facility managers. Refresh your memory with the 5 simple strategies below (including some useful bonus tips) to prevent falls, accidents, and lawsuits.

  1. Have additional salt or deicers on hand, and make sure to plow before de-icing

Having plenty of salt or de-icer on hand means you’re ready for even the iciest of winters. To save time and money, also check out the most cutting-edge, environmentally friendly deicer options available, which include safer mineral and organic-based solutions.

BONUS TIP: Make sure to cover your extra deicers to ensure they are protected from the elements.

2. Use drop-type instead of broadcast spreaders

According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, drop-type spreaders increase the amount of salt sidewalks retain, which also decreases degradation of any surrounding green space.

3. Use a reputable contractor and document all activity

When snow hits and you need to hire someone to plow the parking lot, make sure you’ve hired a reputable company, rather than an ill-prepared seasonal laborer. Ask to see the certificate of insurance for whomever you hire, which will protect you in case they hit your building or a guest’s car.

BONUS TIP: One Beacon Insurance Group recommends documenting where, when, and what was deiced, how much product was used, and how much time it took. Then, in case of a claim, you’ll have reliable details on hand.

4. Stay on top of the weather forecast

As you know, a “missed” forecast of a few degrees can wreak havoc on parking lots and sidewalks if temps fall below freezing when that wasn’t in the forecast. Remember to keep a close eye on actual temperatures as they fall and be prepared to act quickly with plows or deicers when the need arises.

5. Re-salt after rain and sweep up the remainder

When there’s a mix of rain and ice, it’s important to stay on top of salting, as rain can wash away your handiwork – even if you’ve been diligent about salting around your building. Further issues can arise if water freezes overnight and melts during the day, reducing the effectiveness of previous salting.

BONUS TIP: From the Capitol Region Watershed District in St. Paul, Minnesota: Sweep up extra, unused salt and reuse it elsewhere before it gets washed away.