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Landscaping And Snow Removal Blog

Eliminate Liability: Avoid These Sidewalk Snow Removal Mistakes

Posted by Jerry Schill on Jan 4, 2024 4:47:00 PM
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avoid these snow removal mistakes

When most people think about commercial snow removal, the plowing of open spaces like parking lots and garages is often the first thing that comes to mind. But we like to remind all our potential customers that outdoor areas like sidewalks, ramps, stairs, and loading docks are just as much (if not more) of a liability.

Over the past 25 years, the team at Schill Grounds Management has spent hundreds of hours meticulously training our staff to care for all walkable and drivable areas on our customer’s properties. Because we want winter to be safer for everyone, we wrote this article to help you make sure your property’s sidewalks get the attention they deserve.

Poorly Maintained Sidewalks, Ramps, And Docks Put Your Property At Risk

Because plowing or parking lots and garages is such a large undertaking, sometimes property managers and owners forget about the smaller tasks associated with commercial snow removal.

sidewalk with snow

Going beyond the shovel: Why technology matters

snow plow training

While filling general labor positions remains a challenge for many, this is especially true for seasonal positions that aren’t filled year-round, which is a common hiring practice our industry. As a result, the best commercial snow removal companies are looking for ways to adapt and innovate to minimize the impact of labor shortages.

Working with a company that isn't keeping track of changes within the industry is a major snow removal mistake.

At Schill, we use a variety of products that allow us to mechanize snow and ice removal in tight spaces like stairs, ramps, and sidewalks. For example, utility vehicles with plows and/or deicing gear attached (like the one pictured above), mechanized brooms, and stand-on equipment all allow our crews to clear snow much faster than your traditional sidewalk shoveler. Smaller companies, on the other hand, may not have access to as many tools, which may limit their efficiency. And in the snow removal industry, efficiency often means safety. The faster snow and ice get cleared from your sidewalks and outdoor areas, the less time your property is vulnerable to accidents and slips and falls.

Make sure your contractor is asking the right questions about your property

The devil is in the details, and every commercial property has different features that will each require different techniques. For example, a hospital that's open 24/7 has a much higher exposure to risk than a retail complex that closes in the evening. Accessibility ramps, which are unavoidable for people using wheelchairs and other wheeled equipment, may need a liquid pretreatment instead of just salt to make sure that the surface is completely free of ice and has as much traction as possible.

But how does a snow removal contractor find out this information? For starters, they need to have a formal procedure for observing your property and asking important questions. Many weeks before the first snow event of the season, the Schill team conducts pre-season snow inspections on every property we service during the winter, and we take this time to make note of any potential hazards or areas of high foot traffic on the property. From there, we create a snowstorm management plan for the property to ensure it will get the highest level of service.

How Do You Find A Contractor That Will Sweat The Small Stuff?

Sidewalks and other walkable, outdoor spaces should never be afterthoughts of your overall snow and ice management plan. It’s vital that you find a snow removal contractor that understands this, and Schill can help! Whether you’re local to the Northeast Ohio area or you live far away, our Commercial Snow Removal Hiring Guide is a great resource to help get you started.

The Schill team is currently #1 in the nation for the number of staff with ASCA certifications and was only the second company in the state of Ohio to get ISO certified. If you live in Ohio and would like a partner who can help you find the perfect snow management solution, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Photo Credit: Girl Walking in Snow, Snow Winter

Topics: Snow and Ice Removal

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