Everyday I’m Shoveling

If you live in desert or tropical climes, this article is not for you. However, if you own either a business or residential property in an area that experiences frigid, winter weather, this season adds a burden that needs your attention…..snow removal.

Both residential and commercial property owners know the familiar drill after a significant snow fall. It involves either picking up a shovel, starting up the snow blower, or hiring a snowplow service to clear out the driveway or the employee and customer parking lots. In many instances, the removal effort ends there…and that may represent a shirked responsibility.

Once driveways and lots are clear, many property and business owners forget about sidewalks and other paths used by pedestrians. Besides being a poor neighbor, failure to clear walkways may cause other problems. Snow that hasn’t been removed makes it very difficult for pedestrians to make their way, whether it is to school, work or to go shopping. It also creates extra danger. Sidewalks are often close to streets and snow that is cleared for vehicles is usually piled along walkways. Pedestrians often have to deal with snowfall amounts that are supplemented by added snow from plows. Pedestrians may be forced to enter the edges of streets to walk, going through road slush and ice while dangerously close to vehicular traffic. It is very important for property owners to clear their part of snow covered walkways.

Snow removal isn’t just about being a good residential or business neighbor. It is typically a legal requirement. Many cities and towns have active ordinances requiring that walkways be cleared for use. Failure to do so may result in warnings and fines. The latter can easily become substantial since they could be levied on a daily basis.

Another, more critical, concern is to practice risk management. A pedestrian injured while trying to navigate an obstructed walkway can easily lead to a lawsuit. Why would any reasonable property or business owner want to voluntarily face such a preventable source of loss? 


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