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How To Choose the Best Snow Plow for Your Facility

How To Choose the Best Snow Plow for Your Facility

How To Choose the Best Snow Plow for Your Facility

Snow plowing is not exactly a task many people look forward to. But for commercial snow removal, it is a necessary undertaking for access, as well as to prevent water and snow ingress into buildings. When considering the most efficient use of snow plow for your facility’s snow removal needs, you’ll need to consider the project size, vehicle attachment mode, budget, ease of use, and the material. Though there are other factors to consider, the following should narrow down the list of available plows to a suitable few.


Project Size

The task size depends on the size of the plow to purchase, as well as the budget to allocate. For facility use, a larger and multi-position capability plow comes in handy due to the frequency of tasks and large grounds to cover. Regular snow plows measure between 6 and 10 feet (1.83 - 3.05 m) wide. The latter comes in handy for large snow plowing projects with minimal obstacles, such as open car packs and wide rural driveways.


Vehicle Attachment

The vehicle you attach the plow to determines the plow type to purchase. Vehicles, especially trucks, have standardized Front Gross Axle Weight Rating. For commercial applications, consider using nothing less than a three-quarter ton truck, as they have superior FGAWR to handle the large snow plows. Regular plows weigh between 100 - 1000 pounds (45 - 450 kg). It is crucial that the plow does not exceed this rating. The high pickup power also allows easy attachment of other equipment such as ice control, salt spreaders and others necessary for commercial projects..


Budget

The plows required for commercial snow removal cost $5,000 (approximately $6,685 CAD) and up, depending on size and attachments. Ensure that you consider the initial purchase cost, accessories, and any required upgrade before buying. The attachments may come in handy for some projects, especially for heavy snow areas, low visibility, and nightly plows. Other features to look into include high-output, secure mounting system, simplified control system and reliability.


Ease of Use

Scientific trends indicate that the heavy winters we have seen over the last few years are not going away anytime soon. This leads to heavy deposits of snow, sleet, ice, and grime. The suitability for the task depends on the attachment system and adjustments. For frequent tasks, consider easy to use adjustment systems such as brackets and hitch receivers, and the ability to switch between multiple trucks. This makes it easy to attend to differently sized projects.


The primary factor in creating the ease of use is the controlling system. It provides the main interface between the operator and the plow. Most manufacturers offer the simple and easy-to-use joystick model. The modern plow features a touch pad that allows for faster responses, and the ability for more plow positions, thus making it easy to attend to challenging landscapes and spaces.


Material

Snow presents a number of challenges to most materials. This includes corrosion, snow sticking, and wear. It is necessary to invest in material that is resistant to these. Here are some pros and cons for the primary materials used in snow plows: 


Material

         Pros

          Cons

Poly

  • Wear and corrosion resistant

  • Snow rarely sticks

  • More expensive

  • Weigh more once hooked up due to heavy framework

Mild Steel

  • Less costly than alternatives

  • Effective and convenient in matching older plows

  • Rusts after a lengthy duration of use

  • Prone to noisy rattling

Stainless Steel

  • Superior corrosion resistance and slickness

  • Relatively lightweight

  • Prone to dents and cracks, especially in areas with rocks, gravel, and stumps


Undoubtedly a snow plow will be one of the main tools of your commercial snow removal plan. It is therefore key to maximize the efficacy of this expensive piece of equipment. Understand the key factors that contribute to a long lasting, efficient snow plow, such as those listed above, so that you can save on costs and best attend to your facility’s snow removal.

Winter Slip and Fall Cost-Benefit Analysis

Winter Slip and Fall Cost-Benefit Analysis

Winter Slip and Fall Cost-Benefit Analysis

Facility managers are not only tasked with managing essential services such as parking, cleaning, and security; they must also be concerned about the organization’s bottom line. Wintertime creates additional challenges for these professionals as keeping snow and ice from pedestrian walkways is a huge priority. Cutting corners can create significant financial losses in the event injuries are caused by slippery conditions. Here are some things facility managers should consider when engaging in a cost-benefit analysis regarding slip and fall risks.

Liability for Injuries

Even in inclement weather, business continues, so you’re not likely to see a reduction in foot traffic in and out of your buildings and around the grounds. Liability for slip and fall injuries should be a significant concern for facility managers, as several recent large lawsuits indicate that plaintiffs stand to recover hefty sums if your facility is found to be at fault.

Super Eight motel in Connecticut was forced to pay nearly two million dollars to compensate a man who was injured when he fell on an icy sidewalk outside the motel. CVS was on the hook for almost $500,000 for a similar incident. Large facilities with deep pockets are particularly vulnerable to these types of lawsuits, so preventing these injuries needs to be a priority for every facility manager.

Fines from the City

Ordinances that require commercial establishments to keep walkways clear of snow and ice tend to be more stringently applied to businesses than homeowners. One town in Illinois issued $500 tickets to several large organizations for failure to comply with snow-clearing rules and warned that the fine would increase with repeated violations. While fines levied by your community pale in comparison to the cost of expensive litigation, repeated violations of city ordinances will wreak havoc on your budget.

Workforce Injuries

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. They are also the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older. Employees who slip and fall in the parking lot or on facility grounds will likely be covered under your workers’ compensation policy.

While workers’ comp removes the need for costly litigation, time costs associated with the filing and management of such claims, as well as review of the IME (independent medical examination) can strain facility resources. In addition, one must factor in the cost of training and/or hiring a replacement employee to take the place of the person injured.

Damage to Goodwill

According to the American Society of Appraisers, goodwill is a part of the value of a business and is defined as " that at intangible asset which arises as a result of name, reputation, customer patronage, location, products and similar factors that have not been separately identified and/or valued but which generate economic benefits."

It stands to reason that any decline in the value of a business or organization’s goodwill will be measured in reduced profits and diminished respect in the community. Slip and fall accidents can damage the very tenuous relationship between a facility and its visitors and customers. If these individuals feel unsafe on your grounds, you can be sure it will affect your bottom line.

While facility managers must always be on the lookout for cost-saving options, skimping on commercial snow removal is not a wise choice, as this cost-benefit analysis indicates. Pedestrian safety needs to be a priority for your organization to remain successful.

From Falling Leaves to Football: Facility Maintenance in Autumn

From Falling Leaves to Football: Facility Maintenance in Autumn

From Falling Leaves to Football: Facility Maintenance in Autumn

Proper care for your facility's turf and fields during the fall is both important in itself and is a major key to having your grounds successfully survive the winter. To ensure your grounds will be healthy and attractive the following spring, you will need to minimize the harm that wintertime snow and ice may cause to your sod through an effective autumn maintenance program.

Processing Fallen Leaves

Although leaf removal can be a very labor-intensive undertaking, it will keep your grounds looking good and prevent grass from dying "by suffocation" under a blanket of leaves. Use rakes and a leaf blower to gather the fallen leaves and debris into a pile and then use mulching mowers and bagging mowers to remove it. The mulch yield can then be put into beds and around trees, and re-mulching during autumn is an ideal strategy for protecting sensitive plants roots/stems through the winter.

Aerating Your Turf

Fertilizing and de-weeding are indeed crucial to keeping your grounds hardy through the winter, but another critical autumn lawn care task is aeration. Foot traffic, mower and equipment traffic, and rainfall all serve to make soils denser and more compacted. This eliminates tiny air pockets underground, making it more difficult for roots to extend themselves. It can also lead to puddles, mud, and run-off erosion when turf doesn't drain properly.

New construction sites, heavily thatched lawns, sports fields, and playgrounds are among the most likely turf to become compressed. Using a spike aerator is one way to increase air, water, and nutrient penetration in the areas, but far more effective is the plug aerator, which removes small cores of dirt and relieves the pressure. Roots will grow deeper and stronger in well aerated soil, and an annual aeration every fall is good practice.

Caring for Football Fields

Football and other sports fields will be among the most compacted parts of your grounds. Parts of the field will also likely be thinned out or even bare at season's end. Applying plenty of fertilizer in late fall as well as re-seeding will help the field green up early the following spring. A full pound of nitrogen-based fertilizer every 1,000 square feet (1kg per 204.81 square meters) will bolster the turf's carbohydrate stores to toughen it up for the cold season, and grass roots will actually keep on growing, though at a slower pace, during the early parts of winter.

Fields, in particular, need to be aerated, and doing so in late fall allows the winter freeze/thaw cycle to create small cracks in the soil, which increase aeration even more. It is a good idea to "install" compost while aerating, especially if your soil tests out below 3% organic matter content. Five percent, however, is ideal if you have loam soil.

Autumn maintenance tasks at college grounds and other facilities must not only keep turf healthy for the fall but also bolster it to endure the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures of winter. Leaf removal, fertilization, aeration, and re-seeding are among the top autumn grounds-care practices that helps turf recover quickly when spring finally arrives.