Commercial property owners bear many responsibilities, some of which may involve seasonal obligations. Amid the cold weather months, commercial property owners must be aware of their snow and ice removal duties.
Although exact requirements may vary due to state laws and local ordinances, most commercial property owners are legally responsible for ensuring that ice and snow are adequately cleared in a timely fashion. This generally means creating a safe path for pedestrians to navigate sidewalks. For properties located on corners, this includes clearing a path to crosswalks. Furthermore, property owners adjacent to fire hydrants are responsible for ensuring they are uncovered.
Preparing for Snow Removal
It’s crucial to have the proper equipment and ample resources at the ready before snow and ice become an issue. For most commercial property owners, this may include snow shovels, snowblowers and materials to melt ice and provide traction (e.g., ice melt, salt, sand).
If snow removal is to be conducted by your own employees, ensure that they have access to adequate clothing and gear that will keep them warm and dry. Instruct employees not to move snow into the street or other public areas. Finally, make sure employees do not overwork themselves, as clearing ice and snow can be strenuous and lead to significant health issues.
Using a Snow Removal Contractor
Many commercial property owners may choose to enlist the services of a contractor for snow and ice removal. If your organization chooses this approach, consider the following steps:
- Consider what type of contract your property requires and ensure that your contractor can provide sufficient services when necessary.
- Research contractors thoroughly and check references.
- Request proof that the contractor carries sufficient liability insurance.
- Conduct necessary repairs or maintenance in areas the contractor will be working to ensure their equipment can function without risk of being damaged.
Removal of ice and snow is an obligation commercial property owners must take seriously. In addition to potential fines for noncompliance with laws and ordinances, your organization could also be held liable for significant losses and damages if your clearing efforts are insufficient and lead to an incident, such as a car accident or slip and fall.
If an incident does occur in relation to snow and ice removal, having adequate insurance can make all the difference. At Lupton & Luce, our agents have the expertise and experience to ensure your organization is adequately covered. Contact us today to get started.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.