Colorado is no stranger to snow. While large snowstorms aren’t very common, even an inch or two of accumulation can create unsafe conditions. To help reduce the risk of injury, and hold people accountable for failure to keep their property clear, Colorado has snow removal laws that property owners must comply with. As a commercial property or business owner, complying with these laws ensures that property owners can protect employees, guests, and pedestrians from injury, while also protecting themselves from costly civil suits and liability claims. Managing winter liability risks.
Here’s a run-down of Colorado’s snow removal laws:
Colorado Snow Removal Laws
Colorado law states that commercial property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks, building entrances, and other walkways on their property within 24 hours after a snowstorm to allow safe use by pedestrians and vehicles. It’s also important to keep crosswalks, parking lot entrances/exits, and intersections free of snow.
After the snow has been cleared, it needs to be placed in an appropriate area on the property where it won’t lead to liability risks (or removed from the property altogether). According to CO Rev Stat § 43-5-301 (2016), it is illegal to push, plow, shovel, or blow snow onto public roadways, including the ditch and right-of-way! Property owners or renters caught pushing snow onto public streets can be charged with a misdemeanor and subjected to fines or even jail time for repeat offenses. The statute states in full:
CO Rev Stat § 43-5-301 (2016) Obstructing highway – penalty
“No person or corporation shall erect any fence, house, or other structure, or dig pits or holes in or upon any highway, or place thereon or cause or allow to be placed thereon any stones, timber, or trees or any obstruction whatsoever.
No person or corporation shall tear down, burn, or otherwise damage any bridge of any highway, or cause wastewater or the water from any ditch, road, drain, flume, agricultural crop sprinkler system, or other source to flow or fall upon any road or highway so as to damage the same or to cause a hazard to vehicular traffic.
Any person or corporation so offending is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than three hundred dollars and shall also be liable to any person, unit of government, or corporation in a civil action for any damages resulting therefrom.
Upon a third conviction therefor, the offender shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than three hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than three days and shall also be liable to any person, unit of government, or corporation in a civil action for any damages resulting therefrom. Each day such condition is allowed to continue upon any highway shall be deemed a separate offense.
This section makes it a criminal offense for anyone to obstruct a public highway.”
In this case, “any obstruction whatsoever” refers to snow pushed onto public roadways. It’s vital to keep snow out of the street in order to reduce the number of icy areas that may cause accidents. It also ensures that snow runoff can flow properly into storm drains once the snow starts to melt.
Property owners and renters may also be at risk of a civil suit if an injury occurs because of a hazard created by the snow on their property. It’s important to note that civil liability can extend to both the property owner/renter and the person who moved the snow if it created a hazard that led to an injury. Such hazards include:
- Slippery areas
- Hindered accessibility
- Sight obstructions
- Uneven pavement
- Bumps, snow berms, or frozen ruts
- Drainage problems
Denver Metro Snow Removal Services
If you are looking for professional, dependable snow removal services for your Denver area commercial property, look no further than Snow Management Services. For over 25 years, we have helped property owners keep snow, ice, and liability risk at bay.
We offer the full range of snow removal and de-icing services, including sidewalk management and snow hauling. To see what we can do for you for your property, give us a call at (303) 750-8867 or contact us online today!