It’s a winter wonderland out there. It’s one of the things we like best about living and working in New England. But along with beauty comes risk.
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to make sure you have everything in place to limit hazards caused by snow and ice season, especially if you own an office building.
#1 Identify who is responsible for salting and snow and ice removal. Agree on how and when snow and ice will be removed and areas will be treated by salt. Do you have an early morning shift for employees? Do customers tend to come by after normal work hours? Make sure your snow and ice removal resource is available.
#2 Invest in waterproof, over-size entry mats for front and back doors – areas where customers and employees should be checked frequently for snow and water.
#3 Post a notice on community bulletin board requesting that all snow and ice related hazards be reported to the building manager. When suggestions or comments are received, be sure to act on them.
#4 Consider hiring a professional snow removal contractor. Get bids from several companies. Check their backgrounds with the Better Business Bureau on bbb.com and make sure they are insured. Need a recommendation? Ask other businesses in your area or complex. Your insurance company may be able to give you a list of snow removal companies they insure.
“If you do decide to work with a professional snow removal company, make sure to sign a contract and make sure they are insured,” says Jeff Gray, president of G&A Insurance. A general liability policy with $1,000,000/$2,000,000 limits, as well as a certificate of insurance is very important. You will want to have your snow removal contractor add your business to their policy as an additional insured.”
#5 Create and report your snow and ice removal activities on a snow and ice removal log as soon as the tasks are complete. If you are hiring a snow plow contractor you will want to make sure that they are logging their activities.The log will assist you in defending against bodily injury and property damage claims in the event you are sued. Logs are also helpful for defining an operating procedure if you have several properties.
If you do have a snow or ice related injury or accident, report it immediately. Fill out an incident report form and submit to your insurance company. This will assist in determining exactly what occurred and will help when filing a claim. Be sure to photograph the incident scene with your phone or digital camera. Capture the area where the accident occurred as well as the areas leading up to the spot of the accident. Take close-up photographs (within a one- to three-foot range) as well as distance shots to capture the entire scene.