Keep Your Business Open & Safe in Michigan Snow & Winter Weather

havey falling snow on cars - grand rapids snow removal

The average snowfall in Grand Rapids is about 75″ annually – and Lansing MI gets about 51″ of average annual snowfall. That’s a lot of snow! You never know when we may see another record-breaking year. With winter right around the corner, it’s a good idea to have a plan and weather apps in place to monitor Michigan snow and winter weather.

In your attempt to keep current with Michigan snow storm and winter-related current events during the upcoming snow season, be sure to take advantage of the following services.

Stay Connected During Severe Winter Weather

In addition to the free NOAA Weather Alert app, which really is a must-have for anybody living in parts of the country prone to extreme weather conditions, you may want to consider signing up for Storm Shield Weather Alerts. This second service offers the option of receiving either a call or a text for alerts, and you can log in up to three locations, considerably widening your safety radius for your Michigan business.

Staying connected to the latest predictions is the first and most important step in being prepared for severe weather. It is, of course, not the only step.

Be Prepared for Michigan Snow and Ice

Being alerted early in the event of a storm will do little to help you if you haven’t taken steps for safety during the storm. Consult the Winter Preparedness Guide for the State of Michigan to ensure that you, your home, and/or your business have taken the proper precautions for the safest possible outcome. We’ve also written some helpful posts on preparing for winter you might want to check out!

Safety during the storm is not your only concern. You must also deal with the aftermath. That’s why in addition to articles detailing how to prepare your home and your car, the Winter Preparedness Guide also offers the following advice for staying safe outside after a storm:

  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Sweating can lead to chill, hypothermia, and abnormally low body temperatures. Cold weather puts extra strain on the heart, so elderly with heart conditions should be especially cautious when out in the cold. This is a good reason for businesses to consider professional snow removal services, rather than asking employees to shovel after snowstorms.
  • Be careful when walking on snowy or icy sidewalks and take actions to be sure walkways and parking lots are safe for customers and employees.
  • If you are in the weather, do your best to keep clothes dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers, with a waterproof outer layer. Wear a wool hat and mittens. Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body and can lead to severe hypothermia.

With so much danger inherent in storm clean-up, it’s good to let professionals do the heavy lifting for you. Remember that we here at Sneller Snow Systems stand ready to meet all commercial, West Michigan snow-removal and ice management needs. If you own a business located in the Grand Rapids or Lansing MI areas, please contact us to discuss your needs and get a free quote.

Slip and Fall Lawsuits: Can a Michigan Business Be Sued?

Slip Fall Accident

Michigan’s snowy winters, especially in areas such as Grand Rapids and the state capital, Lansing, are often impressive. When snow falls, businesses have risk management concerns of slip and fall accidents on their property. Can a Michigan business be sued for slip and fall accidents on ice? The answer’s a bit complicated but in the end, relatively clear. While we’re not lawyers, here’s what we dug up to help you:

Liability Increases During the Winter

A business that knowingly and negligently disregards its duty to keep its walkways, parking lots and entrances free of snow and ice increases its liability risks. An army of personal injury attorneys in Michigan eagerly await the start of winter, and they can’t wait to file lawsuits, no matter how frivolous they might seem. Fortunately for the average Michigan business when it comes to slip and fall injuries:

  1. Over the last several years, it’s become increasingly difficult to press slip and fall injury claims against Michigan businesses because of snow and ice on their premises.
  2. A January 2013 article posted on the Insurance Journal website reports that Michigan courts are using a tough recent standard, set by the state Supreme Court, to rule against numerous slip and fall injury claimants.
  3. Detroit’s local CBS affiliate, in a December 2012 online piece, also notes that slip and fall injury claimants must prove they had absolutely no other way to avoid the hazard to press their lawsuits.
  4. As a consequence, CBS reported wintertime slip-and-fall injury lawsuits have declined from 20 percent of business to 2 percent for some Michigan personal injury attorneys.

Should a Business Risk a Slip and Fall Lawsuit, Though?

While Michigan businesses can often beat wintertime slip and fall lawsuits, the bigger question is if the business should take such a risk at all. Consider:

  1. Slips and falls due to wintry conditions can quickly spread negative feelings about your business, both by word-of-mouth and over the internet. It costs your business goodwill, and that hurts.
  2. A business is also being ethical and smart to keep its premises free of snow and ice. Doing so helps increase customer safety.
  3. “The NSC says that approximately 25,000 people are victims of slip and fall accidents every day, costing businesses $3.5 million dollars every hour, 365 days a year. With the average cost to defend slip-and-fall lawsuits running $50,000 (as reported by the National Floor Safety Institute), developing and implementing a plan to reduce slip and fall claims against your business can dramatically improve your bottom line. The first step is to realize that you can’t protect yourself from false slip and fall claims without proof of due diligence.”

So who can help you in proof of due diligence and risk management in Michigan?

Sneller Snow Systems can. As Michigan’s only ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified snow and ice management company, we have endured and passed a rigorous audit process, which ensures that we adhere to the ANSI accepted snow industry standards, and maintain the appropriate records surrounding each snow event. This helps you to build a solid defense against a potential slip and fall claim.

For the best high-quality commercial snow removal in Grand Rapids MI and Lansing, contact us at Sneller Snow Systems today. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems in place to keep your business open and visitors safe.

Grand Rapids Snow Removal – Checklist for Hiring the Best Grand Rapids Snow Plow Company

Grand Rapids Snow Removal - Sneller Snow Systems, Ada, MI

Michigan winters can leave business owners scrambling to get rid of snow and keep their doors open for customers. Although it might seem simple to hire the guy next door with the snow plow, or crank up the old snowblower and take care of things yourself, Grand Rapids snow removal usually requires the attention of a professional. Snow and ice that is not removed and treated properly can cause devastating slip and fall injuries that could kill or injure someone, cost your Michigan business a lot of money and damage your reputation. So if you are in Grand Rapids or Lansing MI, contact Sneller to see how we’re different from other snow removal contractors. But if you’re somewhere else, here’s a checklist for hiring the best Grand Rapids snow plow company that should be helpful:

1. Check Insurance, Accreditation, Certification, and References

The best snow plow companies will be fully licensed and insured, and affiliated with reputable associations like the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) or the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). Check the Better Business Bureau for an A+ rating, and choose a company with outstanding certifications, such as the ISO 9001 certification. References from previous customers are a great way to gauge a snow professional’s performance as well. Previous customers can fill you in on quality of work, response time, communication and dependability.

2. Know Their Policies, Plans, and Procedures

You should fully understand a snow removal company’s policies, plans, and procedures for a variety of different situations that will affect your business. Walk through your property with your snow professional, and be sure to address each area that will require snow removal or ice control – ask exactly how the procedures will be completed and know the time frames involved. Ask about emergency response plans – a great snow removal company will have specific response plans in place for every potential snow emergency where snow piles up quickly and ice creates dangerous situations if not managed proactively.

3. Ask About Their Communication Methods, Timing, and Frequency

Excellent communication is essential when looking for the best snow removal company. It is important that the snow plow contractor can answer any questions you have regarding their services, and explain details in a professional and knowledgeable manner. Prompt attention to your concerns is imperative. A company that leaves you hanging for days when you have questions is likely unreliable. If they can’t even return a phone call to answer a question, how on earth can you trust them to show up during a storm?

The second aspect of communication is how they handle communication before, during and after a snow or ice event. Make sure you know when and how frequently they communicate with customers.

4. Learn Their Approach to Safety and Risk Management

Your snow removal professionals need to follow all current safety regulations and have the proper plans and equipment necessary to prevent potential snow and ice injuries. Snow and ice injuries can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills and are a major cause of lawsuits, which adds up to a bad reputation for your business.

5. Understand All Services Included and The Final Cost

The first step to obtaining a reliable, accurate estimate is to assess all your needs. A good snow removal professional can help you decide which areas require work, and what services will be necessary to keep your property safe. Be sure to ask about the costs of any additional services such as deicing or zero tolerance ice control, and special circumstances such as incredibly deep snow or storms that last more than a day. Be leery of low estimates that seem too good to be true – they probably are. Unusually low estimates might indicate inadequate snow removal, a lack of experience or proper equipment, or a lack of proper insurance.

 

Proper snow removal is crucial for the safety of the customers and employees on your property. Ice and snow cause dangerous conditions that require the services of a professional. If your business is in the Grand Rapids or Lansing, Michigan areas, please contact us at Sneller Snow Systems to learn more about our ISO 9001 certified services.

Controlling Michigan Ice this Winter without Damaging Concrete

Deicing Truck Grand Rapids MI Lansing MI

If you were to ask the average person what the most concerning thing about Michigan winter weather is, what would they say? Most likely the answer wouldn’t be the snow or biting wind or bulky clothing, but ice. Though the weather outside may be frightful, it’s not nearly as frightful as a trek down a sidewalk or parking lot that’s coated in a dangerous layer of Michigan ice. The U.S. averages over 400 deaths by icy roads per year – and that’s not counting all the injuries caused by pedestrian slips and falls. Of all the conditions brought on by harsh winters, ice is by far the most dangerous. So how can we get control of the Michigan ice without causing damage to your concrete?

Deicing and Ice Melt Options

Rock salt, or sodium chloride, has long been the first choice for deicing roads and driveways, and for good reasons: it works well, and it is the most cost effective solution. Sodium chloride comes in the form of pellets that can be used with spreading equipment. Rock salt lowers the freezing point of water and helps keep roadways clear. But salt has its downsides. Since it is effective in lowering the freezing point of water, and therefore melting the ice, it increases the number of freeze/thaw cycles on the treated surface. This is the reason that new or lower quality concrete can be damaged by all effective ice melting products, not just rock salt.  Concrete is porous, and as water enters the pores, freezes, and expands, the surface of the concrete can flake off, called spalling.  The more freeze thaw cycles a surface goes through, the more potential there is for this to happen.

Salt also causes steel to corrode, so it should not be used on parking decks. Since concrete is porous, the chloride seeps into the concrete and causes the structural rebar to rust, expand, and break the concrete apart. Contact us to discuss chloride free products for your parking decks.

Magnesium chloride is a product commonly found in icemelt blends that we try to stay away from. Magnesium has been found to change the chemical makeup of concrete and break down the “glue” that holds the aggregates together, causing it to deteriorate.

Much of this potential damage can be reduced with the effective use of various types of ice melting products. One example is by pretreating the concrete surfaces with our calcium chloride brine. When done properly, the brine fills the pores in the concrete, keeping the water out, which prevents the freeze/thaw cycles from happening within the concrete, and eliminating the cause of spalling. We also utilize calcium chloride in our custom granular icemelt blend which generates heat in the chemical process of melting ice, as compared to just lowering the freezing point of water as sodium chloride does.  This creates a drying effect to the concrete, which also helps to avoid spalling.  Using a professional snow and ice management company with experience in proper salt application will reduce risk tremendously. Learn more about liquid deicing and other ice control options here.

If you’re unsure what products are best to use, give your local snow removal company a call if you are in Grand Rapids or Lansing Michigan, call Sneller Snow Systems at 616-868-4900. A professional company will know what type of and how much product to use for every snow event, keeping both your safety and the effects on the surfaces of your site in mind.

For more information on how to fight the ice this winter, contact us at Sneller; we look forward to helping you make this season a safe one!

How Winter Weather and Snow Affects Grand Rapids and Lansing Michigan Businesses

Lansing Michigan Capitol in winter

All Michigan business will be affected by intense Michigan winters in various ways depending on your type of business and how prepared you are for the snow and ice. If you live in Grand Rapids or Lansing, you don’t need us to tell you winters are as unpredictable as they are cold, but let’s look at some of the details so you can be better prepared.

According to The National Weather Service, Grand Rapids had the coldest February ever recorded in 2015, which resulted in loads of school and business closings. And the Grand Rapids snowfall total for November 2014 broke historic records.

How Does Winter Weather Affect Businesses in Michigan?

The answer to this question depends upon the type of business, as well as the area of Michigan in which it is situated.  The largest determinant of winter impact on Michigan business is typically the amount of snow that falls (or, in some cases, fails to fall) in particular areas. Typically Western Michigan is hit with significantly more snow than Eastern Michigan.

Of course, some businesses thrive when Old Man Winter reaches out his frosty fingers.  Notably, ski resorts, Bed and Breakfast establishments and local restaurants often increase sales during intense or snowy winters. However, the effects of inclement weather on most businesses is not favorable. These detrimental effects are likely to include:

  • Property damage
  • Flooding
  • Employee absence, illness or injury
  • Lack of resource availability
  • Price fluctuations for resources needed in business operations
  • Increased costs of goods and services
  • Transportation and project delays
  • Need to increase prices to business patrons
  • Higher risk for potentially dangerous walkways and parking lots

Even businesses, reliant on snowfall for profitability, need professional and reliable snow removal services in order for customers to access their locations. This is particularly true in areas like Grand Rapids and Lansing, where Lake-effect Snow is a probability.

Contact our highly experienced team of snow removal experts to keep your business on track during long and bitter Michigan winters!