Blog Post

Hire an Expert in Snow and Ice: Expert Witnessing and Operations Consulting

When it comes to snow and ice removal services, there are many components that should be considered of high-performing organizations as opposed to those that create unnecessary risks. In this article we are going to cover what should be expected out of a snow and ice removal company, and key best practices that should be identified to ensure the level of service is acceptable, as well as their level of competency in protecting the organization in the event of legal matters. Such expertise can help snow and ice management companies, insurance carriers and brokers, as well as lawyers and legal teams better prepare their organizations and clients by knowing industry standards. Such projects these practices can be applied to includes:

• Snow and ice management consulting projects
• Operations management advising and continued support
• Retaining an expert witness in slip and fall injuries, contractual issues, or safety culture development
• Evaluating and assisting with training insurance carrier and broke client organizations

1. Developing an Inclusive Contract
One of the most important aspects of developing snow and ice management operations is the creation of a good contract. It is vital to outline the following criteria as key points, then elaborate on a more detailed description of the service details.

  • The location where the service will be performed
  • When services will be performed (contract beginning and end date)
  • Who will perform the services (the company)
  • Who owns AND who manages the property (company or individual name)
  • What services will be performed
  • Under what conditions will the company respond to perform services (trigger depth)
  • What equipment, vehicles, materials, tools, and personnel will be used
  • When site visits occur
  • What services WILL NOT be performed. This needs to show what types of services were declined
  • Any high-risk areas that aren’t covered by the servicing contractor
  • What decisions will be made by the service provider, property manager, and property owner when additional services are necessary or requested
  • The responsibilities of both parties in communicating issues on-site
  • What pre-existing property conditions are and what may cause additional risks
  • The liabilities of both parties such as service, operations, communication, property and injury claims, property damage, and financial and payment obligations
  • Aside from this list, some organizations add to these contract details if there are site or service-specific details, as well as any additional criteria. This is a foundational list for a base contract, as both parties should be aware of what is being done.

2. Company Training
Organization’s must take responsibility in creating a safety and operations training program for their employees. Safety training programs are best developed because of completing a needs assessment, which can include the findings from:

• Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
• Evaluating safety and incident history such as automobile incidents, property damage or general liability incidents, and worker injury or worker’s compensation records
• Understanding site-specific hazards and risks
• Utilizing new ways of performing tasks such as new equipment or materials

There is a basic level of training that should be required of all employees performing snow and ice operations, as well as more advanced training for those using specialized pieces of equipment as well as certain materials or chemicals such as deicing and anti-icing granular and liquid products.

While you create the foundations of this training, it is important to determine a training schedule, as well as make-up sessions for anyone that misses training so that everyone completes it. Ensure training is performed before your winter weather season so that everyone is prepared before they perform any service tasks, and it is vital to leave additional time between training and winter weather in case additional training of employees is necessary.
Lastly, ensure that you document all training that was completed such as training class descriptions, attendee sign-out sheets, as well as any assessments that were completed. Record retention for training should be permanent, and you should physically store the papers or hold electronic versions of all documentation.

3. Logging Work Completed
The next key component is documenting all work that was completed, and making sure all documents are completed to their entirety. It is important to have this information on file which can include timesheets, snow and ice logs, work orders, as well as notes or supplemental information that can assist in supporting the work that was performed. Aside from standard documentation, this can also include GPS and telematics information from vehicles and equipment that were used to perform services, as well as any weather monitoring information or reports that were used to determine the necessity and completion of service. Another important step here is to save all communication from the service provider, subcontractor, property owner, or property manager that discusses the services that were performed as well as any follow-up concerns or issues with the site itself.

4. Documenting Communication
As stated in the previous section, documenting communication is integral to any snow and ice operation. There are many instances when having a record of communication is important, and this could be between any party that participated and worked within the contractual service requirements. Such communication can include:

• Phone Calls
• Text Messages
• Emails
• Face-to-face conversations and notes
• Any other form of electronic communication

Aside from liability purposes, storing and revisiting communication between parties can help you understand the performance of services, how your sales and customer service personnel are managing business relationships with clients, and can be utilized as a training resource to improve the way you do things.

From what you’ve just discovered, it is important to consider these foundations in your operations, but it is also important to know that the snow and ice management industry has many other components and characteristics which make your situation unique. This isn’t meant to answer all your questions, but it can give you a head start on what you need to start examining and building within your organization. If you’re considering a partnership with an expert, make sure they have the credentials and experience in the industry to give you the support you need. This can include the Certified Snow Professional (CSP) and Advanced Snow Manager (ASM) credentials with the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), as well as the ASCA-C Certification with the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). These are industry leading credentials that show the knowledge and extensive expertise of management, operations, and liability components.

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...