Get snow? Then Take the Proper Steps Removing It
Editor's Note: This story was provided by Lucas Hartford, CPCU, ARe, AU, AIS Evergreen USA RRG Inc. For more information, visit www.evergreenusa.com.
For campgrounds and RV parks in the Northern United States it is time to think about snow and ice. While many Northern resorts close for the winter season, there are increasingly more that stay open through the winter for camping, snowmobiling or just to have the office or store open for local residents. If you have a campground that is affected by snow and ice and you have anyone from the public on your property, then proper snow and ice removal is very important for their safety.
Proper removal of snow and ice is becoming more important for businesses as our society becomes more litigious each year. It was estimated by Snow Business Magazine that last year snow plowing and removal businesses saw a 17% increase in the amounts paid for claims against them. I seriously doubt that snow removal businesses are doing a much poorer job but rather our society is expecting more and more from people when it comes to keeping parking lots, sidewalks and steps free from slipping hazards.
If you hire someone to do your snow and ice removal, it is important to hire a dependable contractor who has the needed insurance to cover losses. We suggest that you obtain proof of insurance from them showing that they have at least $1 million of general liability coverage and auto liability insurance as well as having Worker’s Compensation insurance. In addition, if you hire someone to handle this, you should have a signed contract that defines the desired level of service. Some things the contract might address include:
- Are you allowing the contractor to use his/her own judgment of when to salt or sand?
- What times of day will the snow service provider be allowed to begin operations?
- Will the contractor respond when they feel it is necessary or will you be responsible for contacting them?
- Do you expect to meet with them after a storm for a final inspection and/or have a foreman inspect the contractor’s final job?
- What things are they responsible for if they hit them while plowing? Curbing and parking barriers?
- Who will put out markers/wands for the areas to be plowed and are there any special items that need marking at the campground such as well heads, low site markers, etc.?
- Do they keep a log of their work?
If you do your own snow removal, you are likely aware of the risks and necessity for continual maintenance of parking and walking areas during a storm. One thing that has become standard operating practice for snow removal companies in the past half dozen years is keeping a detailed log of their work. If you are doing your own snow removal and someone slips on your property, you are going to be held to the same standard as professional snow removal companies – which is to keep a log of your work.
The person(s) doing the snow and ice removal should keep a log noting the dates and specific times of the areas plowed. If sand, salt or other snow melting products are put down, the amount put down should be noted as well. Approximate amounts of snow fall or ice accumulation should be noted in the log. If there is anything unusual that is addressed, this should be noted in the log or you can just take a quick photo with your camera or phone. When a campground or RV park has someone injured on snow or ice in their business, it is almost certain that if the customer ends up filing a lawsuit that the plaintiffs attorney will ask to see a copy of the log. If no log is available, it will paint a very ugly picture for the jury as there is plenty of evidence showing this is standard operating practice.
Campground, RV parks and resorts in the Northern United States know that snow can be a lot of fun, but that you need to be a little extra safe. Make sure to take the time to make your park a lot safer for your guests who may or may not be familiar with the risks of snow and ice.