On average, Chicago sees almost a month’s worth of days when it snows, with an accumulation of almost 37 inches a season. For a business, that’s a considerable amount of risk when it comes to snow and ice-related incidents. And though we have previously covered when and how businesses can be sued due to snow or ice, taking adequate steps to reduce slips and falls will reduce and remove any legal, emotional, and physical stress from potential accidents. Here are three simple steps of snow removal risk management reduction strategies for your Chicago business.
1. Audit your business for risks. Assessing and managing your facilities and grounds is the best first step at reducing your risk. Most businesses don’t realize how much their buildings or grounds unwillingly facilitate risks when snow and ice arrive, until an accident happens. Things to look for and evaluate include:
- Sidewalks: Uneven, bumpy or dripped pavement; high and low-traffic walking areas
- Rooftops: How snow accumulates on top, or where it slips off
- Spouts, sprinklers, outdoor faucets: assess for freezing and leaking, especially in areas for walking and/or driving
- Parking lots: unevenness; markers for boundaries or objects that can be obscured by snow (ex. fire hydrant, curbs); drainage or flow corrections, especially where water tends to pool
- Steps and ramps: Proper care and visibility
- Skylights: Proper grids or railing is especially important in case of buildup
This bulleted list is not meant to be all-encompassing, but should help prompt you and your team in repairing high to low-risk areas.
2. Plan and implement safety strategies for snow removal. When winter comes, it’s important to have safety procedures in place for your snow removal. For example, do you occasionally find the need to shovel ice off a roof? Workers who slip and fall off rooftops are a common risk, but having a safety system and fall protection gear can reduce these risks and keep your employees safe. In addition, looking over your insurance policy to see where you business would be at fault in the event of an accident is a good way to prepare yourself and set high safety standards and features.
3. Hire professional snow removers. DIY-snow shoveling or de-icing can be quick and efficient for when you have small areas to clean up, but if you or an employee are left to clear out larger areas with unfamiliar equipment — such as a snow blower or plow — you can be putting yourself and your business at risk of a lawsuit. A local, professional company like us are fully equipped and trained to handle all types of snow removal and equipment, never putting yourself, your employees, or your customers in a dangerous position.
Thinking ahead and planing for snow is the best way to reduce risk for your Chicago business. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, contact Brancato Snow and Ice Management.