The Anatomy of Michigan’s Winter Dangers

Christmas Dinner

As the dark shadows of another Michigan Winter begin to loom over us and we head toward the Christmas Season, most of us look forward to our favorite winter enjoyments: skiing, building mammoth snow castles, Christmas shopping, or simply curling up by the fire with a good book.

We here at Sneller Snow Systems, however, would like to remind you that winter is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Not to be a downer, but we’ve built our business around helping businesses reduce risk and feel it incumbent upon ourselves to remind you of some of Michigan’s greatest holiday dangers so that you can begin preparing early.


Statistics tell us that incidents of home fires and electrical incidents greatly increase during the winter Christmas season. Decorations not only increase your chances of a house fire, but they also increase your risk of injury due to slips, falls, and other accidents.

Reports of falls from ladders while stringing lights and hanging decorations, incidents of lacerations from broken glass ornaments and other holiday-related injuries are increasing. During November and December 2010, CPSC estimates that more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency departments nationwide due to injuries involving holiday decorations (CPSC).

While we’re not recommending that you completely tamp down your decorative instincts, we do suggest that you always complete outdoor decorations while taking proper safety precautions and using the buddy system.

Sidewalk Ice

Every year, thousands of people slip and fall on icy sidewalks during the holiday season. Apart from the pain of embarrassment, many who slip also deal with the physical pain of bruises, fractures, or head injuries. While it’s true that Michigan’s slip and fall laws leave some flexibility for liability, it’s also true that business owners have a responsibility to keep their sidewalks clear of accumulations of ice and snow, thus rendering them more safe for pedestrians. Using a professional snow and ice management company will help reduce risk of injuries and lawsuits.

Family Dinners

Family dinners can be more than just a danger to your blood pressure at times. Each year in the United States, 100,000 people are treated in Emergency Rooms for scalding incidents–many of those a result of holiday cooking frenzies. Bacteria from improperly-thawed turkeys can lead to intestinal distress. Apart from all of the food-related dangers, carrying and lifting luggage while helping out-of-town relatives settle in before the big dinner can lead to further complications.

Since the holidays are widely celebrated in West Michigan, we can only imagine how high our state statistics will rise in these particular categories this coming holiday season.

While we know that this isn’t the typical sort of post you’d expect from us, we couldn’t avoid telling you what the data says. Although we focus on snow removal and ice management, those aren’t the only things we care about. We really do have our clients’ best interests at heart–and it’s in your best interests to be extra careful as you make your way down those frozen sidewalks to your family’s decked-out houses for a Christmas dinner.

We can’t do much to help you with the cooking or decoration-related injuries, we’re more than equipped to ensure that an accumulation of snow and ice does not turn the sidewalks and walkways around your business from turning into a hazard. For more information on our commercial snow removal services, or to discuss a winter snow plowing contract, please contact us.

Should My Sidewalk Snow Removal Services Shovel by Hand or Use a Snow Blower?

Sidewalk Shoveling - Sneller Snow Systems

It’s here. The warm temperatures we have enjoyed all summer are dropping off, and the air is taking on that crisp cool feeling of fall here in Michigan. Which means, of course, that the first big snow is really just around the corner. In fact, it’s already peeking it’s head at us and could strike at any moment! So as you are making plans for how to keep your business open and your customers safe during all the big Michigan snow storms this year, perhaps you’ve wondered about the best snow removal techniques and if your snow removal contractor is using them…

For instance, you might be asking yourself:

Should my sidewalk snow removal services be shoveling by hand or using a machine?

The answer is a little complicated. It really depends on the size of the area you need maintained and the conditions of the snow fall. Larger areas justify the use of machines, rather than hand shoveling. A machine can save time and money in the right circumstances if you have a lot of snow that needs to be cleared. However, if a Michigan storm produces a lot of ice, you may need that ice to be cleared by hand as it is also managed with custom ice removal services for the best results.

Don’t settle for a Michigan snow and ice management company that can only offer you one service or the other. Find a company that offers both machine clearing and hand shoveling services depending on the situation. This way, they can make a professional decision on the most efficient way to remove the snow for each storm that comes. Your needs are unique and each storm is vastly difference – you don’t want to settle for a “one size fits all” approach.

You might be tempted to have one of your employees shovel sidewalks by hand, but there are many reasons that this is not a good idea. The first of course is that a good snow removal contractor can address snow and ice issues 24 hours a day, never letting the snow and ice build up to a dangerous level, while your employees are only available during business hours.

Another reason to let professionals handle your snow removal is that they have received the proper safety training, and have access to the right equipment. Plus a professional snow removal service, like Sneller Snow Systems, can use a custom blend of deicing materials and can also relocate or completely remove the snow from the premises, all while carrying full insurance. Sneller also operates on an ISO 9001 / SN 9001 Certified Quality Management System, so you can rest assured you are receiving experienced and rigorously tested processes and services.

If your business is in the Grand Rapids, MI or Lansing, MI region, please contact us to receive a free quote for your specific snow removal needs.

How to Prepare Your Grand Rapids and Lansing Businesses for Snow Plowing

Parking lot in need of repairs

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.