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Well it finally happened last night. One of the employee's at a big store I do fell in the parking lot last night. I knew it was going to get icey as soon as it got dark. I called the store at 5:00p.m. and they said the lot was fine. At 5:33p.m. they called me and said it was getting slippery. I arrived at the store at 5:55p.m. and it was a sheet of ice. Within 10 minutes I had the front of the store melting and continued salting the rest of the lot. I left at 6:45 and went home. Well at 9:30 some lady was going home and walked to her car at the very bottom end of the lot. It's big, around 6 or 7 acres. Anyway police, ambulance and so on. They took her to get checked out and the hospital released her and said she was fine.(we'll see). I have had this account for 6 maybe 7 years and this is the first time it happened that I know of. Ticks me off. I don't know if I missed a spot or a car moved that was there when I salted or if it re-froze. The manager told me don't worry about it there is always going to be slippery spots. They never wanted to salt "before it gets slippery" but we will now. Not that it would have mattered in this case.
 

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It's funny they not to worry vierbaly but when it comes wright down to it .You have to worrie I belive if it's not down on paper then your are at fault regardless of what anyone says.Hopefuly nothing will come of t his.
 

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I must be in the minority I've fallen in a few parking lots and just end up laughing at myself for not being more careful the thought of sueing for it never crossed my mind.
 

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Make sure you have a log sheet detailing how much salt was applied, and at what time. You might also include the temperature, the site conditions when you arrived, and the site conditions when you left, and the conversation you had with the management there.

Did you go back and check the lot later in the evening? Even after the slip and fall to see if spot salting was necessary?

How is de-icing worded in your contract? It sounds like the management decides when de-icer applications are necesssary. IF that is the case, they will have more liability than you IMO.

~Chuck
 

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festerw said:
I must be in the minority I've fallen in a few parking lots and just end up laughing at myself for not being more careful the thought of sueing for it never crossed my mind.
Yeah seriously. People are so sue happy these days. I laugh too. How can I blame someone else? I'M THE ONE THAT FELL! :headwall st00pid! :headwall
 

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Ditto what Chuck said. Contact your insurance company as well & let them know, they will want to proactively react to this, instead of potentially hearing about it from a lawyer 14 months from now. Write everything down that you just described here plus the other information Chuck mentioned & file it. (maybe you already do these things, so that would be for others reading this maybe) Do it now whle it's all fresh in your mind, because IF this should become a court or out of court situation, it may not happen for a year or so, and those notes will be a big asset for you. All of that type of info should be recorded for every salt run so it is on file for future reference. Not everyone has a fall that results in a police report etc. that we get to find out about right away. You could find out a year down the road from someone's attorney that there is a slip & fall claim. If you have all of this info readily available, the claim will hopefully have much better results for the contractor. Good luck! And I must say, servicing a 6-7 acre store site like that & having only 1 slip & fall case over a 6 or 7 year period is a job well done IMO.
 

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Sorry to hear about the incident. It is really amazing what we have to do to protect ourselves these days. I was out pre-treating tonight in anticipation of tomorrow night's storm. Ground temps, air temps, time, etc etc etc. These days you just can't afford not to be totally in control of when you plow or de-ice. Leaving it up to the store manager is just not going to work anymore. Even with a contract they will come after you, after all, you are the PROFESSIONAL.

We are probably luckier than most. Our sites are all onboard with an effective program run by us. I would talk about our sucess rate, but don't wanna jinx it! Know what I mean....

It's an education thing and one that commercial guys will see before the residentials. Lowballer operators will always be out there for beer money stealing driveways. In time they will lose their rigs when Grandma breaks a hip on the icy diveway. SIMA is making great strides in educating us to educate our customers. You just can't afford even one injury on your watch. You have to do everything you can to prevent it. Letting an inexperienced manager call the shots for you leaves you open, despite what the best worded contract says.

I do have to say though, I think the re-freeze is one area where Magic has really paid off for us. As I was pre-treating tonight I saw a few small puddles of water in depressions on the lots. Wasn't frozen though, despite ground temps that were between 11-14 degrees on the pavement in the surrounding area with air temps about 18. The residual effect from the last storm carried us through a couple of days of melt with no ice.

Good luck on the outcome. Hopefully it will all just go away.
 

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festerw said:
I must be in the minority I've fallen in a few parking lots and just end up laughing at myself for not being more careful the thought of sueing for it never crossed my mind.
Do ya look around to see who seen you fall before you LOL.....

Funny a hurt my tail a few times on lots I am to care for.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the input eveyone. I already let my insurance man know what happened, I document everything I can think of and always have. I did salt again after the incident, around 4:30 a.m. the next morning. The way it's set up they call me during business hours 6-10 and I check lot during the night and service at my discretion.
 

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Sorry my input didn't help you any..

On the flip side, documentation.

Slip n falls are a part pf our biz, around here years ago lots wouls have 2-3" of snow on them, now we hardly see any snow accumulation on them and or clear withing hours of the storm ending.

Although the whole thing is actually an act of god/mother nature, we bring ourselves into the liability factor by attempting to clear and/or melt any ice/snow accumulation, this is what we are paid for.

Now the fun part, covering you A$$.

Documintation, keep records of everything performed on the lots, times, amounts etc... Can even go as a photo (not digital).

For defences, proper attire not worn and such little things as making sure curbs have been saftey painted and such little things that get overlooked many of times. doccument things like the curbs not being painted in your files or contracts, things like this will help you in the end.

I've been in this boat a few times, and not once have paid out, most of my defence has come from surveillance cameras.

Little things like a person running or high heal shoes changes everything.
 

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This link shows the infrared thermometer I use.
Fluke 65

It may be a little overkill with regard to the temps, and for some a little pricey, but I use it for aviation work also. The model 61 is just as good. Temp range not as great but the quality of these instruments is outstanding. I have used Fluke test equipment for years and I feel they are one of the best out there. We have a couple of other less expensive guns, but they don't seem to have the accuracy that mine does. Shoot the same area three times with theirs, get three different temps. Shoot it with mine, same temp all the time. You get what you pay for. Documentation is everything when it comes to defending yourself.
 

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Funny how things turn out with the managers that want to control cost and manage contactor down to the last second and penny.

Fact is you are somewhat better off in the way that this was an employee. When I am talking to clients I spend most of the time covering the employers responsibility to provide a safe work place.

Although commercial properties are high traffic areas it is more likely that an employee is going to get injuried at the work site than a customer. Most managers have dealt with sometype of work place injury claim. When you can get them to talk about those situations and get them thinking about the employee that might be looking to file a claim for any reason they can I think they give salting and the possibility for slip and falls a harder look.

In my experience I have either been able to get a trigger lowered or the method of salting changed from, "I'll call you when I think we need salt" to at least, "You salt when there is a nedd and just call me and let me know where we are with billing" or " You can salt up to $XX.XX and than call for addtional". Second thing to do is make phone calls and not stop in even if I am in the parking lot. The phone bill is a great way to document your contact date and time. Better than your word against their about what time you were there and what conversation took place.

Either way it gets them thinking and even if it does not go your way you can document it in your file and in the contract as to the service that your offered and reccommended. As we have all learned no matter what once the extend the contract and they accept it as the contractor and the professional you own the liability no matter what is in the contract. The only toerh thing you can do it CYA and be prepared.

BTW great job with your track reccord I think that will come into play not just with this sitation about with anything else that might slide in. Nice to be able to get that type of stuff into a deposition when the time comes.
 

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I got my 65 through Grainger. It was about $270. The 61 is around $115 most of the time. I saw them on sale when I stopped in, nice to have a Grainger close by, for $99 at the will call window.

There are a lot of these type thermometers out there, I just like the size/shape and especially the Fluke quality. I have had Fluke multimeters and scopemeters for years. I seem to upgrade a lot, but never get rid of the old ones. Funny how that is huh? :D
 

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Don't forget, it's the slip and fall cases of the past that make the store and property owners sand and salt giving plow guys business. I know in my area some stores and propertys are just dangerous and lack any treatments to the ice.
 

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We use the Raytek infared gun. I carry a temp gun and check pavement temps regularly through out the night. Our salter trucks carry temp guns and we take pavement readings at almost all sites when we salt.

The tough part about the business is that you'll always have slippery pavement. "Black and Wet" contracts don't even guarantee 100% clear pavement all the time. I guess this is why we all carry insurance.

The big dilemma that we have along with property owners is how to balance the budget with the need to maintain the property. Snow and ice management services are not inexpensive to the property owners. The property owners often want to limit the amount of salt we put down (particularly pre-season during contract discussions). However, when the pavement is slippery it's go go go on the salt. After they get the bill, they're gun shy to slow it down a bit. Then when they have an accident, it swings back the other way. I'm over generalizing a little, but you get the comments.

The last couple of events I know that I've been doing the right thing by salting, but I start to wonder what I would do if I was in the customers shoes since I know we've been working alot this winter.
 
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