If you’re struggling with how to prepare your business for winter snow, you’re not alone. Many businesses in Grand Rapids and Lansing, MI realize the importance of preparing parking lots, walkways and sidewalks for snow and ice management during the off season. It may be summer now, but in a few short months the leaves will start to change, and once autumn hits winter is right around the corner and it’s too late to think proactively. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the impending West Michigan winter in 2016.
Hire your snow contractor early.
Michigan businesses who think proactively and are organized will start preparing for next winter as soon as possible. That means contracts for hiring the best Michigan snow and ice management contractor are currently being reviewed and signed, even in July. Booking your contractor early will help make sure they have the resources available to fully service your snow removal needs. In fact, many contractors actually run out of the salt meant for preventing freezing. Contacting snow plowing companies early will give them time to stock up on cold resistance measures and hire staff as early as possible so that you are locked in with the best service possible.
Smooth out your exterior surfaces.
Harsh Michigan winters can destroy business parking lots after months of freezing temperatures, ice storms, snow plowing and constant thawing and refreezing. Summer is the time to fix up pot holes, cracks and heaving concrete and asphalt so surfaces are smooth and can be safely cleared of snow and ice next winter.
Weather-related accidents are significantly increased when road and walkway surfaces are uneven or cracked. This includes sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots especially. Asphalt parking lots should have cracks routed and sealed to keep water from penetrating under the surface – which causes more cracking and pot holes. Pot holes should be taken down to the stone base, inspected and replaced. Concrete parking lots and sidewalks that have cracked or heaved up from heavy frost should be grinded smooth or mudjacked to make level.
Inspect and fix water drainage or slope problems.
The perfect time to inspect water run off and drainage is during and after summer rains. If you have standing water on hard surfaces this summer, it will obviously create a dangerous ice patch this winter. Be sure your paved surfaces have at least a 1% slope moving water away from walkways to lawns and gutters.
Check and install proper lighting.
Being prepared to salt the ice is the main concern, but ensuring proper lighting in walking and parking areas is also crucial. If people can’t see the ice, they can’t avoid it. If poor visibility causes accidents, you may be found liable. Install additional lamp posts and lighting where needed this summer, to improve visibility in winter. This will not only help employees and customers see their way, but it will help your commercial snow and ice management company as well. The better your snow contractor can see the snow and ice, the better they are at removing it.
Be diligent about maintenance all season long.
Make notes all winter about issues that are easily fixed during the summer. For example, if you see ice formation on a railing, make sure to verify the railing’s structural integrity after the ice has melted. The additional weight could have compromised the railing. When customers track snow and ice inside–and they will–clean it up as soon as possible to prevent puddles and slips. Paying regular attention to these seemingly small issues and taking care of them right away is the key to avoiding accidents.
Train your employees.
Review the above practices with your employees, as well as teaching them the proper way to land if they do slip and fall (try to fall to the side, landing on forearms or shins instead of wrists). The more sets of eyes, the better.
The best way to prevent snow-related accidents this winter is to diligently apply common sense. The more attention you and your employees pay to possible hazards, the safer everyone will be.
We love snow – everything about it. And we’ve been keeping businesses safe for years. Contact us for more information on preparing your business for winter.