Now that winter is well underway, and Spring is on the horizon, commercial businesses are facing the task of preparing for the inevitable freeze-thaw cycle that comes with the changing of the seasons. The City of Edmonton’s Community Standards bylaw mandates that all properties, residential and commercial have 48 hours to clear snow, ice, icicles, and other related hazards. Bylaws also state that all cold weather hazards must be disposed of safely, and on property lines (not onto public sidewalks or roadways). Staying on top winter maintenance during the transition to warmer weather can be tricky, and failure to plan can result in fines, injuries, and other negative consequences for business owners. Learn how to prepare yourself for the shift to Spring below!
Create a Proactive Injury Prevention Plan
One of the most important things you need to consider before the snow starts to melt is how you’ll prevent slips or falls on your property. Failure to do so puts you and your team, along with your customers at risk for serious harm, and could cost you some serious cash if you’re found liable. The good news is, with the proper action, these dangers are avoidable.
To ensure your property is safe, you’ll want to identify potential hazard spots (look for areas where water tends to accumulate) and plan to add extra sand, weatherproof matting at entrances and ensure your pathways to and from your business are easy to navigate by your customers. Finally, if there are any areas that you’re unable to address right away, be sure to clearly identify and section off hazard spots with appropriate signage and caution tape.
Assess Your Exterior Lighting
Ensuring that you have proper illumination along all walkways, entrances, and other key foot traffic areas will help eliminate the possibility of trips. It will also help you identify any damaged areas around your property (cracked concrete, etc) that needs to be repaired to prevent accidents.
Examine All Drainage Points, Including Downspouts and Roof Slopes
Check your core drainage points, including eavestroughs, spouts, and the sloping of your roof to make sure all runoff is safely displaced and doesn’t leak on to sidewalks or roadways. You’ll also want to make sure that icicles are quickly cleared to avoid the danger of falling obstacles harming pedestrians.
Double Check Your Snow Removal Contract
Winter can be unpredictable, especially in Alberta, where the season tends to run long or experience vast temperature differences in the later months. Ensuring that your contractor is available later on during heavy downfalls, or after freezing rain. If snow stays on past its usual term, you don’t want to be on the hook for removal. You’ll also want to take the chance to make a plan for the coming season, as well as revisit your process for the following winter (it’s never too early to be prepared). Don’t be afraid to talk with your contractor and discuss what worked well, what areas you think could use some improvement, and address any areas that weren’t covered in your current contract. The right team will want to find the best solution for every client, so speaking up makes sure both sides are happy with your maintenance!