The Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) says the use of power equipment to clear sidewalks – whether it’s a skid steer or a snow blower – should always be accompanied by efforts to alert pedestrians that dangerous work is underway in the area.
Ian Ashby, owner of Arbutus Landscaping in Alberta, Calgary, told SIMA he leaves nothing to chance when it comes to clearing sidewalks and pathways.
“People look at you as a safety provider, but their expectation of safety is completely different from yours,” Ashby says. “You have to do everything you can to alert them to the dangers because they aren’t thinking about you. They have their heads down in the snowstorm, just trying to get to their destination. You are the last thing on their minds.”
SIMA offers the following tips for safer sidewalk clearing:
- All workers must wear safety vests and protective equipment.
- Block the sidewalk off at both ends with safety cones to let pedestrians know someone is working on the site. Post danger signs to let them know crews are working.
- Drive slowly if operating equipment. Taking the slow approach can help you better see everything going on in front of your machine. Snow-clearing activity will create a flurry of snow and may impact your vision. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Never clear snow between the pathway and any street. Always clear to the high side of the non-traffic pathway.
- Make sure your equipment is well lit with beacons, flashing lights and the like.
- Use a spotter who walks ahead of the equipment to alert parties to potential danger.
For more safety tips and other resources for snow and ice professionals, visit SIMA’s website here.