Winter weather more often than not brings snow and ice and with that comes potential liability for your public entity from slips, trips or falls. Manage your risk with proper maintenance of your sidewalks, streets and public areas. Below are five essential tips to help your public entity minimize slips, trips and falls this winter.
- Plow first: The less snow there is the less deicing material you’ll need. Take the time to plow first. Plow and store snow downhill to prevent snow from running back onto the pavement. By doing so, you minimize the chances of slush building up and refreezing.
- Caution over salting/sanding: Do not be misled; over-sanding or salting can contribute to the already slippery entryways. In heavy trafficked areas, use less sand and/or salt. The use of too much salt can also be harmful for the environment. Once the snow melts, the salt dissolves into the water and flows with the runoff into surrounding water sources including streams, rivers and wetlands.
- A salt/sand mix is ineffective: According to the Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual, “Salt and sand mixes are commonly used to stretch the salt budget. This is an ineffective practice. Salt and sand work against each other. To save money use deicers when you need to melt and sand when you need temporary traction. Mixing them decreases the effectiveness of both products and increases the cost. If you use a 50/50 salt/sand mix, you’re generally either half right or half wrong. Using a salt/sand mix leads to over application of both materials.”
- Document: Always document when you perform any sort of plowing or deicing activity. Record how much you did, where and when. In case of a claim, you’ll be prepared with the proper documentation to protect your entity.
- Educate: If you are not responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalks or parking lot educate those who are. Consider providing the building occupants and owner information on the best winter practices to ensure the safety of not only your employees but those who will be using the parking lot and sidewalks.
For more tips, download the Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual. Or, visit your state’s Department of Transportation website for more information.
To learn more about how OneBeacon Government Risks can help you manage risks, please contact us at OBGRRiskControl@onebeacongov.com.