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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..


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.


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: 





  • 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.

The Importance of Facility Rooftop Snow Removal

The Importance of Facility Rooftop Snow Removal

The Importance of Facility Rooftop Snow Removal

In February 2015, 
record snowfalls in Boston caused 44 roofs to collapse across a two-day period. Throughout New England, in fact, ice dams, snow drifts, and snow weight threatened roofs as more than seven feet (2.13 m) of snow arrived in one month’s time.

While the winter of 2014-2015 was unusually severe, the dangers to the roofs of industrial and commercial facilities are very real every winter season. Facility managers must be aware of the problems that snow and ice can pose to their facility's roofs and to the safety of those in and near the building, and prepare a roof snow removal plan accordingly.

Preventing Structural Damage and Collapse

The first step in preventing major roof damage during the winter is to be aware of the load-bearing capacity of your roof and of the approximate snow-weight currently on it. Flat and low-pitch roofs, so often used at managed facilities, are particularly prone to snow accumulation. These roofs usually have strong support systems, but the snow level must still be monitored to keep things safe.

One cubic foot (0.02 cubic meter) of powdery snow weighs about six to eight pounds (approximately 3 - 4 kg). The same quantity of packed or wet snow may weigh 20 pounds (9 kg), and ice in that amount can weigh up to 60 pounds (27.2 kg). Multiply any of these figures by the square footage of your roof surface and by the depth of the snow on top, and you will get an idea of the great strain your roof is subjected to each winter--and the subsequent importance of roof snow removal.

In general, you should not allow more than 18 inches (45.72 cm) of snow on a low-pitch roof nor more than 20 pounds of pressure per square foot (97.64 kg per square meter). FEMA, however, also warns that the attempt to remove excess snow is itself dangerous to a roof and to the people clearing it. Walking on the roof and shifting snow can create load-imbalances, and it is even important in what order different parts of the roof are cleaned off.

Some signs that your roof is under too much pressure include:
  • Visible sagging
  • Cracks developing in the walls
  • Major roof leaks
  • Creaking or popping sounds
  • Doors that pop open
  • Doors that are hard to open
  • Windows that are hard to open
  • Sprinkler heads dropping below ceiling tiles 
Some tips for rooftop snow removal are:
  • Use a plastic shovel since metal can damage the roof and conduct electricity if it touches a wire
  • With pitched roofs, use a snow rake with a long extension-arm.
  • Begin at the edges and work to the peak.
  • Leave 2 or 3 inches (5 - 8 cm) of snow on top to ensure you don't damage the roof.

Other Dangers to Watch Out For

Besides outright collapse, there are other roof-related dangers that will need some attention:

  • Ice dams can form when snow melt-off from the warmer central roof area refreezes at the colder eaves and backs up water. Better below-roof insulation and ventilation are the main answers.
  • Large icicles can dangle from the eaves, threatening to break off and fall on anyone walking or standing below.
  • Roof vents can get bent by sliding snow or clogged up with ice or snow. The latter could lead to dangerous gases being trapped in the building.
  • Ice on the roof may damage wiring and cause a fire hazard. Protecting pipes and vents with plywood is sometimes effective.
  • Roof-based snow drifts might dust entryways, and melt-off might drip there and refreeze. An industrial-strength heated floor mat can keep all entrances clear and dry.

Winter brings many dangers to a facility's roofs and to those who walk or stand near them. Being aware of these potential problems and knowing viable solutions enables for safer rooftop snow removal, and for other dangers to be prevented or quickly eliminated.

Five of the Most Highly Compensated Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Five of the Most Highly Compensated Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Five of the Most Highly Compensated Slip and Fall Lawsuits

In today’s litigious society, facilities with deep pockets are at risk for expensive lawsuits, particularly for personal injury claims from visitors and licensees. In northern locations where long stretches of inclement weather are common, slip and fall lawsuits are a significant concern for facility managers. The severe injuries that can result from pedestrians slipping on snow and ice often result in severe or permanent disability, leading to large jury verdicts. These five lawsuits made headlines due in part to the staggering amounts recovered by the plaintiffs.

A jury in Staten Island, New York, awarded a woman $4 million for injuries sustained when she fell on a poorly shoveled walkway outside a condominium complex. The plaintiff’s multiple spinal fractures, permanent disability, and constant pain suffered contributed to the large verdict. The amount awarded is particularly remarkable due to the fact that Staten Island juries are traditionally more conservative in awarding damages. This verdict shows that large monetary compensation for plaintiffs is a possibility in all legal climates.

Operators of a Super Eight motel in Connecticut were forced to pay nearly two million dollars in restitution after a man broke his ankle in three places when he fell on an icy sidewalk outside the motel. Part of the reason for the high amount awarded was the fact that the motel operators were aware of the propensity for ice to accumulate and did nothing to reduce the risk or warn people of the potential hazard.

An Iowa woman recovered $1.2 million from Marriot International Inc. and Courtyard Management Corporation after slipping and falling on ice outside the hotel. The testimony of other hotel patrons about the icy conditions helped sway the jury to find for the plaintiff, and the devastating injuries to the woman’s ankle impacted her future earnings, leading to the large verdict.

CVS Pharmacy was forced to pay nearly half a million dollars to an Indiana woman who fell on a sidewalk near the store’s entrance and fractured her ankle. Her injuries were so severe she was required to undergo surgery and have pins, plates, and screws implanted into her ankle. The jury found that CVS violated basic safety rules intended to protect customers by not keeping the walkway clear.

A Massachusetts case involving an elderly man who filed suit against the Target Corporation was notable both because of the size of the final award—$400,000—as well as the decision by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts to abolish the distinction between natural and unnatural accumulations of snow--that is to say accumulation due to natural snowfall vs. the piling of snow or ice in a particular location--which previously could have limited the defendant’s liability.

Plaintiffs who suffer serious injuries can heavily influence trial juries, especially when these plaintiffs are perceived as much weaker than the large corporation, organization, or facility responsible for their accident. Property owners and facility managers are well advised to take preemptive steps to make sure these types of accidents don’t occur, rather than attempt damage control later with costly and protracted litigation that will drain the organization’s resources.

Keeping walkways clear of snow and ice is a challenge for facility managers who must continually monitor weather conditions to ensure proper precautions are being taken to protect the public. However, as these examples demonstrate, it is crucial to have a strong handle on your commercial snow removal plan so as to eliminate the very real risk of liability brought by harsh winter conditions.