Winter weather can be an awe inspiring thing to watch when it comes to snow fall. It can also be interesting at times to watch as people try to navigate the parking lots and sidewalks leading into homes or businesses shortly after a winter weather event. Case in point, after a snow storm last winter, I observed someone try to walk from their car into their home on the freshly fallen snow and while doing so slipped and fell flat on their back (never mind the fact that this someone was me). Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt (other than my pride) and no one was around to laugh at my clumsiness.
Unfortunately, slips and falls on the winter snow and ice are quite common during this time of year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014, over 42,000 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow occurred; among those numbers 82% were attributed to falls, slips, or trips from snow or ice.
For businesses that do not have snow removal equipment or the maintenance staff to properly take care of winter weather, having a snow removal plan in place with a local contractor can help prevent someone from getting hurt on your property due to slipping on the snow and ice. Below are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when selecting and utilizing a snow removal contractor:
- Ensure you get a written contract with the contractor that covers all of your businesses snow and ice removal needs (e.g., parking lots, driveways, walkways, roof coverings). Ensure the contract clearly states what services the contractor will perform and under what conditions.
- Check references. Look for a snow removal contractor who is established, licensed, and a bonded professional.
- Ask to see the contractor’s certificate of insurance. Ensure their coverage for liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance is current.
- Monitor the contractor’s work to ensure they are removing snow and ice after a weather event has occurred in a timely manner and in accordance with the established contract.
Ensuring your business is properly cleared from snow and ice after a winter storm may not only help avoid injury to you and your customers, but help ensure they can safely and easily patronize your business!
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