Keep Your Commercial Parking Lot Safe This Winter
Here in Indiana we’ve been experiencing freezing temperatures, ice and snow recently. Once you venture back out into the world, after hibernating during the blizzard, one of the most dangerous places to navigate is a parking lot. Slippery asphalt and sidewalks increase the possibility of car accidents and falls. The difference between a well-plowed commercial lot and one packed with snow and ice is stark. As a business owner, your unplowed commercial lot not only reflects poorly on your business, it presents a safety issue and a legal liability. The following tips will help you keep your parking lot and your organization safe and free from personal injury lawsuits.
The first step is to identify who is responsible for clearing the lot and the sidewalks. You may be responsible for your own winter weather maintenance or another party may cover it, depending on whether you own or rent. Once you know who is responsible you can hold that person responsible—even if that person is you.
When it comes to winter weather, preparation is key. You want to have safety supplies stored on hand before a storm rolls through. With the right preparation, your organization will be equipped to handle any emergency. As a business owner, you should stock the following:
- Ice melt
- Caution signs and cones
- Reflective safety vests
- Documentation of the safety measures you take (in the event of a lawsuit)
There are two ways to go about the actual snow removal: hire a contractor or do it yourself. If you choose to hire a contractor, be sure you use a licensed and reputable company with a valid certificate of insurance. You should require the contractor to place you on their general liability, automobile liability and workers’ compensation insurance policies as a certificate holder. Whether you employ a contractor or do the work yourself, you must do the following:
- Know your legal regulations for plowing and excess snow placement.
- Mark all potential obstruction in the parking lot, such as parking stops, speed bumps, curbs, poles and water drains, with bright flags or sticks.
- Be sure that storm drains are unobstructed.
- Keep excess snow piled away from foot traffic areas.
- Position snow piles so that they will not obstruct visibility or melt into high traffic areas.
- Keep excess snow off the property of others.
By taking these measures, you will ensure the safety and satisfaction of your customers, vendors and employees and will guard against any accidents and potential lawsuits. Stay safe this winter.