Choosing the Right Snow & Ice Triggers for Commercial Properties

The average snow removal provider faces a 1 in 6 likelihood of a slip and fall claim each season. Snow and ice-related incidents currently yield an average medical claim amount of $33,000. These statistics underscore the critical importance of effective snow and ice management for commercial properties. One major way to avoid an incident this winter is to understand and set the appropriate “trigger” for your commercial facility.

What is a Snow Trigger?

A snow trigger is the specific amount of snowfall or ice accumulation that prompts a snow removal service to act. For most commercial snow removal contracts, the industry standard trigger is 2 inches of snowfall. We go above and beyond industry standards: our triggers are 1 inch of snowfall and .01 inches of ice. Our specification of .01 inches of ice allows us to proactively treat properties for anticipated icy conditions and minimize the risk of slip and fall cases.

Why Are Snow Triggers Important?

Safety: The foremost reason for setting an appropriate snow trigger is safety. The sooner snow and ice are removed, the lower the risk of slips and falls. Given the high costs associated with slip and fall incidents, both in terms of medical claims and potential lawsuits, ensuring prompt snow removal can significantly mitigate these risks.

Accessibility: For commercial properties, maintaining accessibility is crucial. Whether it’s a retail store, an office building, or a healthcare facility, ensuring that walkways and parking lots are clear of snow and ice helps to keep operations running smoothly and customers or clients safe and satisfied.

Liability: Property managers and business owners can be held liable for accidents that occur on their premises due to snow and ice. By adhering to a proactive snow removal strategy with a lower trigger, you demonstrate a commitment to safety and reduce the risk of costly litigation. Interestingly, according to the National Safety Council, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of emergency room visits, highlighting the significant risk and potential liability for property managers.

Choosing the Right Snow & Ice Triggers for Commercial Properties Beverly Companies

How to Choose the Right Snow Trigger for Your Property

Choosing the appropriate snow trigger involves several factors:

Type of Property: The nature of your business and the type of property you manage play a significant role. For instance, a healthcare facility may require more frequent snow removal compared to a warehouse. High-traffic areas or properties with vulnerable populations (such as schools or senior living facilities) should consider lower triggers to ensure higher safety standards.

Climate and Weather Patterns: The local climate and typical weather patterns also influence the choice of snow trigger. Areas that experience frequent light snowfalls may benefit from a lower trigger, ensuring that even small amounts of snow are promptly cleared. Conversely, regions with infrequent but heavy snowfalls might prioritize rapid response to larger snow events. Considering the way snowfall has gone in recent years for Chicago, a lower trigger would likely be a wise choice.

Budget and Resources: While safety is paramount, the budget cannot be overlooked. More frequent snow removal services will naturally incur higher costs. Balancing the cost of snow removal with the potential costs of accidents and liability claims is crucial. It’s important to work with a reputable snow removal provider to develop a cost-effective plan that meets your safety requirements.

Tenant and Customer Expectations: Understanding the expectations of your tenants or customers is essential. A retail property might need to ensure that parking lots and entrances are always clear to maximize customer footfall, while an industrial property might have different priorities. Clear communication with your snow removal provider about these expectations can help tailor the service to meet specific needs.

The Benefits of Lower Snow and Ice Triggers

By opting for a lower snow trigger, such as 1 inch for snow and .01 inches for ice, you can enjoy several benefits:

Enhanced Safety: As previously mentioned, a lower trigger reduces the risk of slips and falls. This proactive approach helps prevent injuries and the associated medical costs and legal issues.

Improved Accessibility: Ensuring that your property is always accessible, regardless of minor snowfalls, enhances customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. This is particularly important for businesses that rely on steady foot traffic or have tight operational schedules.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your snow removal provider will take action even with light snow or ice accumulation provides peace of mind. You can focus on running your business without worrying about the safety of your employees, customers, or tenants.

Understanding and setting the appropriate snow trigger is a critical component of a comprehensive snow and ice management plan for commercial properties. A lower threshold of 1 inch for snow and .01 inches for ice can significantly enhance safety, accessibility, and liability protection. As a commercial property manager or business owner, it’s essential to consider the type of property, local climate, budget, and stakeholder expectations when choosing the right trigger for your needs. By prioritizing proactive snow and ice management, you can protect your property, your people, and your bottom line.

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