“Prepare for the Worst, with the Best this Winter”

“Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it gets,” proclaimed Dr. Don Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. It is a simple, yet profound statement. Put differently, focusing on how you go about achieving stated objectives is just as important as the end result itself. As winter approaches in Northeast Ohio, prepare for the worst, with the best. Make sure you are equipped to deal with the potential chaos, liabilities, litigation, and risks associated with snow and ice events by creating a winter risk mitigation strategy. The only certainty during winter is that the weather will be uncertain. Taking steps now over the things we can control will deliver desired results once the snow begins to fly.

Detailed below are five essential features of a winter risk mitigation strategy. Regardless of your risk tolerance level or property type, these are the basic building blocks of preparedness as winter approaches:

  1. En2016-2017-weather-pros-predictionsure that you, your staff and/or your tenants fully comprehend the service level inherent in your contract. Study the terms and conditions and scope of work so that you fully understand what is covered. If opting for a trigger-depth contract for instance, you should be prepared to communicate to your staff, guests and/or tenants that snow and/or ice build-up may persist throughout winter. Since these are reactive arrangements designed to be more budget friendly, there may be events that do not warrant removal action. You will have to be prepared to deal with a dusting of snow, or in some cases an inch of accumulation. Among other things, the contract is what sets the expectations, so make sure everyone with an interest is on the same page.
  1. Identify preferred piling locations, potential hazards and critical areas via a detailed site map of the property. This type of work is comparable to a coach devising a game plan before a big game. This plan is then communicated to the team, studied, practiced and eventually executed when the game is on the line. In the same way, reputable contractors will use these maps to plan, direct and execute services on the property.
  1. Explore ways to limit environmental and property damage. Discuss matters like temporary fencing and/or landscape wrap to protect evergreen trees and shrubs from salt and/or desiccation damage. Use the site map to identify sensitive plant material so that snow is not piled in these areas. Mark plow hazards, curbs, hydrants, parking blocks and other pavement features to avoid damage from plowing equipment. Mother Nature can be harsh, so prepare accordingly.
  1. Place temporary signage throughout the property notifying of potential hazardous conditions. Simply cautioning visitors, employees and tenants that “slippery conditions may persist” reduces the risks of slip and fall litigation. The same is true for the inside of your facility where “wet floor” cautions should be used in lobby areas.
  1. Identify high-traffic areas for vehicles, deliveries, pedestrians, etc. Communicating these areas and preferences to your contractor via an operations survey will enable them to focus on these areas during daytime events or during events of prolonged snowfall. Effectively mitigating risks implies a detailed understanding of, and appreciation for, your operations. Contractors must operate as an extension of your business so that they provide targeted service to keep your facility open and safe during the unpredictability of winter.

It is never too early to plan. Snow and ice is synonymous with risk and liability. Make sure that you are prepared to mitigate these risks with a sound strategy. The professionals at Brian-Kyles are eager to help.


Tagged: boma, commercial , company , winter

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