Winter is definitely here. Much of Minnesota is still digging out from over two feet of snow and half the country is bracing for crippling ice storms. Every year, at just about this time, the claims department at West Bend sees a drastic increase in the number of reported claims during the winter months. These claims are usually the result of slip and fall injuries due to icy or wet conditions caused by winter weather.
One of the easiest ways to prevent claims this winter is hiring a professional snow removal contractor. Not only does this remove the need for you to do the work yourself, but it also allows you to shift your liability exposure. If you do make the decision to utilize a contractor this winter, however, it’s important that you follow some of these important recommendations.
Things to Consider When Working with a Snow Removal Company
- Have a written agreement with the snow removal contractor: If you do select to use a snow removal contractor as opposed to removing the snow yourself it is critically important that a written agreement exists between your organization and the contractor. These contracts detail what the contractor is responsible for, when they are obligated to remove snow, and much more.
- Make sure the snow removal contractor has adequate insurance: If the contractor has no insurance or inadequate levels of insurance then any injuries or property damage will come back to your organization. Many snow removal contractors are insured, but some are not, so when selecting a contractor request proof of insurance to ensure they have adequate coverage. We recommend contacting an independent insurance agent to determine what levels of insurance your snow removal contractor should be carrying.
- Keep track of when the parking lot is plowed, salted, and sanded: Recording the time, date, and services provided is a good practice when utilizing a snow removal contractor. If an injury occurs and a claim arises, this information can be important to show how close in time the injury occurred in relation to snow removal services. It is also good to keep track of for billing purposes in case an issue occurs.
- Maintain supplies of salt and sand to use as needed: Snow removal contractors will typically only provide a service if a certain amount of snow accumulates. When there is minimal snowfall, your organization may still be responsible for maintaining your parking lot and walkways. In these instances, have your snow removal contractor leave salt and sand so you can deal with minor snow issues. It is also good to log these occurrences as well.