Winter Storm Management: Is Your Business Prepared?


As a public entity, it’s important to ensure that you have a plan in place for winter storms. Not only can winter bring inclement weather, but it can also bring treacherous road conditions. Being prepared and ready for all it has to offer is essential to ensure the safety of your employees who are involved in the corresponding operations. This includes preparing for winter storms such as nor’easters and blizzards, and taking the proper precautions ahead of the storm for maximum safety. As you prepare for winter storms, consider the following:

Pre-Planning – Questions to consider for snow and ice removal

  • Are your drivers trained and experienced?
  • Are your drivers in good physical condition and well rested in case of early morning work?
  • Have you consistently checked weather conditions ahead of time?
  • Are your drivers familiar with their assigned routes?
  • Have they made a practice run to identify hazards and problem areas?
  • Do they know what to do in case of an injury, accident or property damage?
  • Have you properly stored and/or covered your de-icing materials and equipment?

Driver Fatigue

  • When snowplow operators are not getting proper rest, this can play a major role in snow plowing-related accidents
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) has regulatory specifications limiting employee driving hours and can be utilized as a guide
  • Ensure that drivers are getting proper rest before getting on the road

Impaired Drivers

  • Employers and drivers can be held accountable for fatalities/injuries caused in an accident while impaired by consumption of illegal drugs and/or alcohol while driving
  • Routinely remind employees about the importance of drug avoidance, including the use of certain prescribed and/or over-the-counter medications
  • Consumption of these legal medications while driving can also deem the driver “impaired “or “under the influence” should a fatal accident occur

Defensive Driving

  • A snowplow operator must be a defensive driver at all times and follow these basic rules:
    • Stay in control – Drive at slow speeds to stay in total control of their vehicle
    • Make sure they see you – Keep their lights working and add reflective decals to vehicles and equipment
    • Continuous scanning – Look far enough down the road to see hazards before they arrive

Incorporating safety strategies and proper preparation prior to a winter storm is essential for the safety of your employees, the general public, and your overall business. It should be engrained in your business model and frequently shared with all appropriate personnel. Read more on PMA's Organizational Safety Management Services.