While many folks look forward to winter, cold weather, and snow, commercial property owners and managers know that winter brings about a unique set of challenges. Keeping properties safe for everyone in the winter requires extra care, especially in areas like Denver where winter weather can be harsh. However, with careful planning and preparation, preventing hazardous winter conditions on your commercial property can be made much easier.
Here are some ways your can keep your commercial property as risk-free as possible in the winter:
5 Winter Safety Tips for Commercial Properties
Have a Winter Weather Plan
The best way to avoid hazardous winter conditions is to set up a winter weather plan that lays out how you’ll prepare for – and respond to – winter weather. Being proactive is key to minimizing winter risks: it’s easier to prevent snow and ice from accumulating than it is to try and remove it afterward.
Setting up a winter weather plan with a snow removal contractor will also help you to figure out the most efficient ways to clear the parking lot, sidewalks, and other areas. You’ll also need to determine the best place to store plowed snow on the property – just make sure that snow piles won’t lead to any hazards themselves. If necessary, you should arrange off-site snow hauling to keep your property presentable.
Inspect Your Hardscapes
The most common type of injury associated with winter is slips and falls. Slip and fall injuries are usually caused by icy surfaces, but hardscapes that are in disrepair are just as hazardous. Cracked and uneven pavement on sidewalks, stairs, and ramps can easily cause someone to trip; combine this with a little ice, and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster.
Poor lighting is another common cause of slip and fall injuries. Not being able to see icy patches on the sidewalk – especially at night – is another hazard that could lead to injury. Make sure to replace any dim or inoperative lights. Installing new lighting around potentially hazardous areas – stairs, curbs, and accessibility ramps, for example – will also help to decrease the risk of accidents.
Inspect Your Roof, Gutters, & Drainage
Two other huge winter hazards are clogged gutters and ineffective drainage systems at ground-level. Water that doesn’t properly drain from roofs away from the building can easily lead to icy conditions, as well as damage your building and hardscapes.
Clogged gutters can create ice dams, which will further block water from draining off the roof properly. The best way to prevent ice dams is to ensure that your gutters are clear and free of damage before winter hits. The roof should be inspected as well to make sure that water doesn’t have any ways to get into the building.
Down on the ground, make sure that your drainage systems are properly diverting water away from the building and any hardscapes. If there are any high-traffic areas on the property where water tends to collect, make drainage improvements to keep them clear. Storm drains should also be cleared of leaves and other debris so that they work properly.
Keep Entrances Clear
Without a doubt, the most-trafficked area of your property is the building’s entrance. It’s essential to keep the entrance free of snow, ice, and standing water to avoid any accidents. Lay down ice melt materials frequently around the entrance, and remove any standing water to keep ice from forming overnight once temperatures drop.
Select a good set of winter entrance mats to remove snow, water, and ice melt materials off of people’s footwear as they come in. Make sure that the mats cover enough area to clean footwear as best as they can – at least two footsteps in length. Mats also shouldn’t slide around on their own and create their own slip hazard.
The exterior mat needs to be rough and durable, able to quickly scrape off the largest bits of snow, ice, salt, and dirt. The first interior mat should be ridged rubber or deep-pile carpet in order to remove and trap smaller particles. Finally, it’s a good idea to lay down an absorbent mat to help dry off the bottoms of people’s footwear as they come inside.
Prep Your Landscape
In addition to keeping people safe on your property during winter, it’s always a good idea to keep your landscape protected, as well. Failing to prepare your property for winter can undo a year’s worth of hard landscaping work, and can lead to even more work come springtime. When it’s time to winterize your landscape, make sure to:
- Give your property a good fall cleaning – remove leaves, weeds, debris, etc.
- Properly winterize your sprinkler system to prevent damage and costly repairs
- Remove any dead or damaged tree limbs that may fall due to high winds or ice
- Lay down mulch around flower beds, trees, and other plants to help regulate the soil temperature and retain moisture
- Protect your flower beds, grass, and other plants from ice melt products with burlap or plastic snow barriers
Avoid Hazardous Winter Conditions with SMS
The best way to avoid winter hazards and risks is to have an experienced, professional snow removal contractor on standby. For over 25 years, Snow Management Services has been the go-to choice for hundreds of commercial properties and businesses in the Denver metro area. It all starts with winter property planning, taking the time to identify the most efficient way to keep your property clear and highlighting any possible trouble areas. Quick snow removal and de-icing are critical so that parking lots and sidewalks are clear in order to prevent winter accidents or injuries. Our team is committed to rapid response times during even the roughest winter weather. We can even haul snow off-site to keep your property presentable.
To see how SMS can help your Denver-area business or commercial property, give us a call today at (303) 750-8867 or get in touch with us online to get started.