Whether you own either a home or business in New England, this winter season will add a burden that needs your attention…..snow removal. Though we’ve been pretty lucky thus far, there is plenty more time for snow this winter.

 

Both residential and commercial property owners know the all too familiar drill after a significant snow fall. It involves either picking up a shovel, starting up the snow blower, or hiring a snow removal service to clear out the driveway or the employee and customer parking lots. However, removal efforts should not end there.

Once driveways and lots are clear, many home and business owners forget about sidewalks and other paths used by the public. 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, a store, etc. 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 the 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 hefty 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, and often does lead to a lawsuit. In addition to violating the law, someone could be seriously injured on your property, and would be seeking compensation for any related medical expenses. Rock salt, or ice melt is crucial to keep on hand during these winter months. Ice is a most often unavoidable danger.

Any reasonable property or business owner should without a doubt wish to avoid such a preventable source of loss. As we wait for the inevitable snow fall, be sure to become familiar with your city/town’s snow removal procedures as well as the repercussions for not abiding by them. Keep yourself, as well as others protected.