Winter Road and Street Maintenance: Snow Removal Best Practices 

In order to improve municipal adherence to best practices for snow and ice removal, it is critical that managers implement as many of the below measures as possible.

1. Develop and implement a written Snow and Ice Removal Procedure that identifies:

● the positions responsible;
● the snow/ice removal logbooks to be used;
● contractor (and contractor equipment) selection requirements;
● frequency of snow/ice removal procedures;
● nature of snow/ice removal (i.e., sand or salt); and
● proper claim handling practices.

2. Develop a snow/ice removal log to record pertinent data, including:

● the individual's name;
● estimated snowfall amounts;
● ice buildup;
● temperature;
● action taken (e.g., called contractor, used plow);
● dates and times;
● inspection notes; and
● any unusual conditions.

3. Employ the services of professional snow-removal companies.

4. Require that contractors furnish a list of activities along with the bill for services rendered. Some can provide an immediate printout of their activities once completed.

5. Define the contractor's responsibility for checking on the location (at a parking lot, for example) and 24-hour on-call capabilities.

6. Provide appropriate equipment, tools and supplies when using internal personnel for snow/ice removal. Ensure that these employees promptly report unusual conditions.

7. Post appropriate warning signs in high-hazard areas.

8. Provide adequate lighting in all areas, where feasible.

9. Conduct accident/incident investigations promptly. This is very important, as surface conditions can change so quickly in winter.

10. Treat injured persons immediately.

Recommend treatment at a healthcare facility regardless of the severity of the injury. Showing adequate concern for the safety and well-being of the injured guest will go a long way in creating goodwill and preventing unwanted litigation. Note in the incident report if the person refuses medical treatment.

11. Assign a coordinator to synchronize snow removal efforts of contractors with those of in-house personnel to ensure all areas are treated properly.

Importance of Documentation 

When dealing with a liability claim is made against your organization, you need the following records in written form:

● Policy Statement of the standards your organization
● Log of weather conditions over the course of each day, including temperature and precipitation
● Record of call-out procedures and how the manager/supervisor made their decisions
● Record of materials used in various locations (e.g. bridges, slopes, etc.)
● Review of any accident reports that came to the attention of the maintenance crews
● Record of training received by the managers/supervisors and contractors (if any are hired)

Keeping these records can help avoid future problems. Remember, planning is worth the time and effort.

 

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