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Building a Sustainable Plan for Handling Snow Removal

Building a Sustainable Plan for Handling Snow Removal

Building a Sustainable Plan for Handling Snow Removal

The average person thinks of snow removal as an occasional problem dealt with using a shovel or maybe a snow plow. However, every facility manager and business owner who has to deal with this issue understands that the problem is much more complex. If you add sustainability objectives to the equation, it presents even more challenges. How do you navigate the world of sustainable snow removal?

Proactive Planning and Positioning

The only way to effectively deal with snow removal is, of course, careful planning long before the necessity arises. In fact, the greater the frequency and amount of snow, the more urgent the need to be proactive in planning for it. This is especially important in the commercial sector, as you have to take a multitude of factors into consideration, including:

  • Tenant and occupant comfort and safety
  • Acquisition, storage and maintenance of resources
  • Legal and financial consequences of too-slow reaction
  • Training and allocation of human resources
  • Disposal of snow
  • Environmental concerns

The latter point is of increasing concern as new regulations and public expectations demand sustainable and environmentally sensitive solutions whenever and wherever possible. With snow removal standing out as one of the most visible and scrutinized responsibilities for any property manager, it takes proper planning to get the job done quickly and to everyone’s satisfaction.

Crunching the Numbers

Of course, the financial issues are at the heart of any snow removal strategy. You have to ensure safety and comfort, but at what price? Depending on the size and scope of your snow removal challenges, you may consider:

  • Contracting the task out to a local landscaping or snow removal firm
  • Handling the task yourself
  • Adopting a hybrid approach

Handling the problem yourself is an acceptable solution if you live in a region with only occasional snow falls, and your facility has only limited areas to maintain. In fact, new eco-sensitive tools such as heated floor mats and environmental friendly materials make many jobs manageable.

However, if you manage multiple areas and such responsibilities as roofs, loading docks, parking lots, and the like, it often takes a combination of resources. For these larger snow removal projects, the planning and work is virtually year round as you take time for:

  • Evaluating long-term weather predictions and trends
  • Handling the logistics of selecting, acquiring and storing stocks of snow removal materials, especially if you are seeking the latest and most sustainable options
  • Maintaining and updating equipment and vehicles, including the move to more sustainable and lower-emission vehicles and plows
  • Ensuring you have the right places to dump excess snow

Sustainability in Operation

While the advanced planning allows you to carefully and prudently choose the most economical and eco-friendly options, it also provides another significant advantage. If you are caught unprepared and off guard, you will be forced to choose alternatives that are more expensive to get the job done quickly while keeping your occupants safe and happy.

Having the right equipment, materials and manpower in the right place at the right time is the first step to sustainable snow removal.

Care and Maintenance of Your Business's Entrance Mats

Care and Maintenance of Your Business's Entrance Mats

Care and Maintenance of Your Business's Entrance Mats

An entrance mat (placed either inside or outside an entryway) can help keep your building clean from wet or dirty feet. But a poorly maintained entrance mat can actually make things worse than using none at all. Follow our advice for the care and maintenance of your entrance mats, and you’ll get years of use out of them, not to mention reduce the occurrence of slip and fall injuries on your premises due to tracked in water, mud, and dirt.

Securing your entrance mats

An entrance mat that’s not firmly affixed to the floor can shift. If the corners flip up, people will trip rather than slip. The same can be said for a mat that does not lie flat but instead buckles in the middle.

To prevent this, use double-faced adhesive tape to attach your entrance mats to the floor (especially in the four corners). This will provide an additional layer of security for heavily trodden areas.

Cleaning your entrance mats

The location of your mats will determine to what extent you should be concerned about outside materials soiling them.

Workers walking through mud or slush and coming in through side doors can leave your mats caked with dirt and debris. This not only makes for unsightly conditions, it also leads to the risk of these materials being tracked further into the building.

Placing an additional high-fiber mat outside doors and instructing employees to wipe their feet before entering will go a long way toward keeping your indoor mats clean. You can also rotate mats throughout locations (and even 180 degrees in the same spot) to help distribute wear and ensure longer use.

For more information, see the National Safety Council’s data sheet on making the best use of your floor mats.

Umbrellas and unmatted areas

One slip-and-fall risk that you may have overlooked: umbrellas. Snow and ice can drip from the umbrellas people carry into your building onto the floor, and if you don’t have a way to collect that runoff, it can lead to accident or injury.

Place an inexpensive umbrella bag stand/dispenser, like those made by Uline and other companies, immediately inside the doorway. This will encourage visitors and customers to safely encase their wet umbrellas in plastic bags before treading further inside.

An umbrella stand might sound silly or pointless, but it can save you lots of money in the long run. 800,000 people a year are hospitalized from slip and fall injuries, and your organization can be on the hook for these medical costs if it’s found that you were negligent in maintaining your grounds.

Outdoor mat solutions

Visitors and employees can bring a lot of snow and ice into your building, and the best way to keep your building safe from slip and fall injuries is to leave the snow and ice outside. Heated outdoor mats ensure that the majority of snow and ice melts off people’s shoes before they even enter your building. Combine this with an indoor mat on which people can better dry off their shoes.

The best way to care and maintain your entrance mats: use a two-pronged approach including both indoor and outdoor mats. This also goes a long way toward ensuring your building is safe for visitors, customers, and employees.

Lexus Dealership Cuts Liability Risk and Winter Hazards with Heated Mats

Lexus Dealership Cuts Liability Risk and Winter Hazards with Heated Mats
Reducing winter-related slip-and-fall accidents is a serious concern at Lexus of Wayzata, MN. To meet the challenge of outdoor safety, the facilities maintenance team at this suburban Minneapolis auto dealership installed a HeatTrak Snow Melting System to keep an L-shaped walkway clear of snow and ice.