When it comes to snow safety and risk management, there is always more to do until warmer weather brings the site back to bare, dry pavement.
Here are 3 post-storm safety measures property managers can take today to ensure the safety of their properties.
1. Update Snow Response and Site Engineering Plans
If you have snow response and snow site engineering plans every storm is a test of their accuracy. In all likelihood, you can make modifications to improve them. If you do not have these plans in place, now is a perfect time to get started.
You’ve probably noticed these so-called 100-year storms seem to show up about every 5-10 years. Isn’t it best to plan on them happening again soon?
Learn more about snow response and site engineering plans from this article.
2. Vigilantly Monitor Melting and Refreezing
Melting and refreezing conditions are the leading sources of slip and fall accidents. Preventing them starts with following plans to minimize or eliminate them.
If you have problem areas that cannot be completely mitigated, they should be monitored and addressed with supplemental measures, with those activities documented in detail.
3. Take Extra Snow Safety Measures
Property managers are responsible for: “… taking reasonable care to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition in view of all circumstances that can be reasonably expected.”
Note the emphasis on being reasonable, which of course is subject to interpretation. If there are measures that could have been taken but were not, it’s likely a judge will rule against you in a slip and fall lawsuit.
Should you have to defend against a slip and fall lawsuit you can favorably influence the judge by showing you took every available measure to ensure the safety of your property.
This requires detailed documentation of conditions and when specific operations were completed. Supportive photos and videos are invaluable.
Here are some supplemental measures for minimizing melting and refreezing hazards you should consider.
a. Fence off unsafe areas
b. Apply additional deicers
c. Clear drainage areas
As a last resort, you may have to transport snow offsite. While expensive, it’s cheaper than defending a lawsuit.
About the Author: Fred Peratt is head coach and owner of Environmental Enhancements, Inc, a Sterling, VA based commercial landscape management company serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area. He is also the Education Advisory Council Chair for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.