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7 Ways Snow Melting Mats Can Help Facility Managers

7 Ways Snow Melting Mats Can Help Facility Managers

7 Ways Snow Melting Mats Can Help Facility Managers

1. Protect your company from slip and fall lawsuits

Heated snow melting mats could help you eliminate or significantly reduce liabilities associated with slip and fall accidents. These portable mats are designed to lie on top of existing surfaces. They keep surfaces constantly clear and safe as the system works around the clock, melting snow and ice. Their safety features are enhanced by a continuous groove pattern in the mats, which provides extra traction for additional safety. These outdoor heated mats work better than any heavy duty snow removal equipment.

 2. Tighten your budget by slashing expenses

The heated outdoor mat option is definitely cheaper than purchasing traditional snow removal equipment, hiring snow removal companies, or relying on some other snow removal plan of action. This snow removal method requires no expensive installations and is also energy efficient. You can achieve heated sidewalks by simply plugging each electricity operated mat into any standard 120V or 240V outlet, using its own ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

3. Achieve effortless maintenance

These outdoor heating mats make maintaining your surroundings less burdensome. It’s like having your own in-house snow removal service that rivals even the best snow removal plan of action. The mats remove the need for sprinkling walk ways with salt or sand. This means less cleaning of messy floors as no extra substances are tracked inside, and no rigorous shoveling at the entrances.

4. Preserve your natural landscape

Not long ago, facility managers and those concerned with commercial snow removal methods could hardly imagine getting rid of snow and ice without damaging their natural landscape. With outdoor heated mats, protecting your natural landscape during a snow storm is now possible. You no longer need snow plows or other snow removal equipment which are hard on your landscape.

5. Afford you peace of mind

Investing in snow melting mats brings peace of mind. You can sleep at nights without worrying about the accuracy of weather reports. And, there’ll be no need to frantically resort to a YouTube-snow removal by compact tractor option, should an unexpected storm occur. Your heated outdoor mats will be working 24-seven to ensure business as usual.

6. Keep your doors open when others are shut

Snow melting mats will defy snow storms, allowing you to keep your doors opened when other facilities around are snowed in. Harsh weather conditions and heavy pedestrian traffic are not major concerns for these durable mats.

7. Make you look like a genius

How would you like to look like a genius in your company? When you treat your company to the revolutionary benefits offered by snow melting mats, you’re bound to look like the genius among your staff.

Liability Issues Make Winter Snow Removal a Top Priority

Liability Issues Make Winter Snow Removal a Top Priority

Liability Issues Make Winter Snow Removal a Top Priority

Even under the worst weather conditions, business continues. People still need to get to office buildings, hospitals, universities, and other facilities. Ineffective maintenance of the grounds in inclement weather can result in severe liability for injuries caused by people falling due to accumulated snow and ice. Here’s what you need to know to protect your facility’s assets from these types of lawsuits.

Know the Law in Your State

Facility liability for injuries caused by inadequate snow or ice removal varies widely from state to state. In Oregon, for example, property owners have a duty to business invitees to make the property safe if snow and ice is covering pathways. In 2014, a man filed a $50,000 lawsuit against the Safeway corporation after slipping on an icy sidewalk on the premises and breaking his wrist. The case is still pending.

Other states appear to limit liability, but a close look at the laws frequently exposes loopholes that can open the door to a successful plaintiff’s suit. In Illinois, for example, facilities have no duty to remove natural accumulations of snow, ice, or water from their premises. Plaintiffs can recover, however, if the underlying pavement was negligently designed or maintained, or in the event an “unnatural accumulation” occurred. This could be due to impaired or altered drainage, or the creation of a mound of snow by a plowing contractor. It’s easy to see how the exception can swallow the rule, and facilities can be on the hook for large sums.

In the 2010 case of Papadopoulos v. Target Corporation, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts abolished the distinction between natural and unnatural accumulations, and ruled that property owners owe a duty to all lawful visitors to use reasonable care with respect to these hazards. It’s only a matter of time before other states follow suit, imposing a duty on facility managers every time snowfall occurs or is expected.

Not Just a Frigid Weather Problem

Don’t think your risks have gone away just because the temperature has risen above freezing. In 2015, a Bank of America customer in Alabama sued the bank and its contracted snow removal service for injuries she sustained falling on a slippery sidewalk the previous year. Claiming the bank failed to provide a safe pathway for its customers, the suit seeks an excess of $50,000 in damages. The injury did not occur during a massive snowstorm. The temperature that day averaged 35 °F (1.67 °C).

What You Can Do

With changing legal standards, it's better to be proactive and ensure your customers and visitors are safe from both natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice.

Maintenance of the grounds during inclement weather can be expensive, but there are cost-effective methods for reducing the chances of injury. The best way is to provide a shield of protection between your visitors and the snow- or ice-covered pavement.

Consider the use of outdoor heated mats, which offer a quick and convenient way to alleviate the dangers caused by snow and ice accumulation on walkways. These portable mats are a better alternative to harsh chemicals that are corrosive to the underlying surface and can be tracked inside, creating unsightly stains on indoor carpets.

The deep pockets of a large facility are often sought after when someone is injured. Don’t expose your organization to the possibility of these types of lawsuits.

Communication is Critical: Making Sure Snow Removal Runs Smoothly

Communication is Critical: Making Sure Snow Removal Runs Smoothly

Communication is Critical: Making Sure Snow Removal Runs Smoothly

When it comes to fast, efficient snow and ice removal on facility grounds, effective communication is critical to achieving success. Even with all the necessary equipment and a fully trained staff, snow removal efforts will hit snags and miss deadlines when the communication structure is slow, confusing, or completely absent.

A General Call-In Plan

Leadership, specifically the chain of command, is inseparable from good communication since nothing moves without word from a decision-maker. Managers must be assigned to call in specific employees as needed. Someone must also be designated as the one to make the call on specific situations, such as when and where to begin snow removal, what type of equipment and chemicals to use, and when to close down the facility for safety's sake during a storm.

Both workers and managers alike need to be constantly "contactable," preferably by multiple means, since snowy weather can hit unexpectedly at any time. The plan of action for specific types of call-ins, however, should be laid out ahead of time and be "shared knowledge" among all staff. That is, the default action in a certain kind of scenario should be memorized so that short, simple communications can activate the snow removal team without a glitch or delay.

Specific Scenario Plans

While each winter event differs at least slightly from all others, and specific decisions may need to be made and communicated during the snow removal process, there are also basic classes of storms that can each have their own "default plan." Possible plans for four typical scenarios are:

  1. Light, short-lived snowfall: Crew arrives early, before normal working hours, and clears off all parking lots and walkways within an hour or two. It may be that nothing more need be done, and all will be clear by the time employees begin arriving.
  2. Light, but continuous snowfall: Snow falls all day at a rate of half an inch per hour or less. Snow removal is done in rounds, during each of which snow blowers and rotary brooms first move the snow before a small amount of de-icer is applied. The de-icer will be pushed aside in the following round, so it is used sparingly, but a little bit is needed to keep up good traction.
  3. Heavy snowfall: Everyone arrives extra early, say at 3 am, and begins immediately clearing off the main walkways and parking areas. Lower priority areas are only addressed after the higher priority areas are completed. Salting and snow removal is continued all day (or as needed) to maintain accessibility, and an additional snow removal effort the following morning is also likely to be needed.
  4. Ice storms: If a few inches of snow has already come down and an ice storm is forecast to hit soon, it is best to leave the snow until the ice arrives. The snow barrier between the ice and the cold pavement will make removal much easier. Salt will be spread during the ice storm if the temperature is 20 ºF (-6.67 °C) or higher, but below that temperature it is ineffective and a different de-icer will be used. A sand-salt mix will be deposited on steps and wheelchair ramps to give added traction. Alternatively, snow-melting mats can be placed on steps, ramps, and walkways to keep them clear and dry.

The ability to pre-plan, communicate the call to action that activates a specific plan, and communicate during snow removal to adjust the default plan as needed are all crucial elements of a winter routine. Effective organization and communication are as critical to successful snow and ice removal at your facility as are chemicals, equipment, and trained staff.