Thursday, October 27, 2016

Snow Safety Week 2016 Review

This week, SIMA and sponsor Progressive Insurance produced a fifth Snow Safety Week. With 2 webinars, numerous articles, and 2 Facebook live videos, Snow Safety Week was successful in providing quality, helpful information on a variety of safety-related topics.

As we move into the winter season, safety information is timely and very important for all snow professionals to remember. View some of the highlights from Snow Safety Week below:

Did you miss a webinar? View the recordings for free! 

Snow Industry Injury Prevention - View now
Snow and ice management involves equipment, dangerous weather, fatigue, and stress – all of which can easily lead to injuries. This webinar will provide common areas of potential injury, with useful and realistic tips to manage and reduce the chances of injury occurring.

When Disaster Strikes – Response and Documentation Essentials - View now
In our first 2016 Snow Safety Week webinar, we addressed the prevention of injury whenever possible. Unfortunately, accidents and disasters can happen, and being prepared, aware, and having a solid plan in place can make the difference.

Check out some of the highlights from our Snow Safety Week articles: 
Check out SIMA's Facebook page to see 2 video interviews with SIMA members as they discuss safety at their companies.

Visit here to see all the articles from last week, and thank you to everyone who participated and helped create another successful Snow Safety Week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More training for members

'Having a formal training program in place not only will ensure that all company employees are on the same page but will also build a higher expectation that those in the field are performing duties safely and efficiently.'

Having members-only content isn’t new to SIMA. Currently, members have free, unlimited access to content such as forms, templates, toolkits and reports that can be used at any time. Beginning this October, SIMA’s initiative is to evaluate and update what is already available as well as to add new training content in the upcoming year. 

This year’s State of the Industry report revealed that 54% of companies who responded do not have a formal training program in place. Having a formal training program in place not only will ensure that all company employees are on the same page but will also build a higher expectation that those in the field are performing duties safely and efficiently. 
Moving forward with updating our membership benefits, SIMA wants to ensure that its members have the training tools they need to provide employees and customers the best service possible. 

Snow Safety Boot Camp
This series provides members with well-rounded content that can be used to train new snow removal employees, providing a deeper explanation of how to properly take care of themselves and their jobs. 

This Boot Camp consists of six on-demand, approximately 15-minute training sessions: 
  • Health and Wellness
  • Sleep Management and Deprivation
  • Managing Mental Health and Family Matters
  • PPE and Equipment Safety Basics
  • Snow Shoveling Safety
  • Walking Safely on Snow and Ice
Easy access
Employee access to this training is simple. When hiring a new employee, SIMA members can create an employee profile under their company account in the member portal. This will give the employees access to members-only content like the Snow Safety Boot Camp and other courses. Companies can offer this to as many employees as they would like. Once an employee finishes a training session, they can submit for credit by properly demonstrating they’ve completed the course, and a certificate of completion will become available to print. 

SIMA members-only training available now at
  • Snow Fighter Safety: How to Battle the Elements While Maintaining your Health
  • Salt Application Oversight & Environmental Responsibility
  • Assessing Operations & Creating a Hands-On Snow Safety Program
  • Basics of Snow Production Estimating
  • Snow Safety Boot Camp
Visit to access members-only training.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sustainable salt use is a path forward for industry

'It will take a lot of research, hard work and training to help our industry. We are taking a big step forward this fall with our newest initiative, the 
Best Practices: Guidelines for Sustainable Salt Use.' 

By Phill Sexton
Over the past two years, I’ve been traveling a lot, building new relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders and discussing a variety of industry-related initiatives. The single biggest focus that has come out of that work relates to the issue of salt use in our industry.

We’ve come a long way over the past 10 years. We’ve invested in research on application rates, launched the Sustainable Salt Initiative and renewed our focus on the use of liquids and other practices that can reduce salt output while maintaining safe conditions. I have also shared my experiences with the Fund for Lake George, the New Hampshire Green SnowPro program, and several other regional entities focused on this issue. 

It’s been an eye-opener, and I’ve realized that our industry is exposed to some major risks — and I’m not talking about slip and fall liability. Studies and initiatives in various regions of North America are beginning to identify the impact salt applied to properties (vs. roads and highways) is having on our environment and water. We have a responsibility together to proactively move the needle, or the government is going to start trying to move it for us.

There is no clear path for us. It will take a lot of research, hard work and training to help our industry. We are taking a big step forward this fall with our newest initiative, the Best Practices: Guidelines for Sustainable Salt Use

SIMA identified that there are no basic standards or minimum requirements for salt use. The research, while making progress, can’t tell us exactly what to apply for each situation. 
The guidelines serve as an informal audit of any site, company, or organization that utilizes salts (calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, etc.) to deice or anti-ice. It provides a set of policies and activities that when used together can reduce salt output while increasing the training, knowledge, and skill of the organization.

Just like our other Best Practices checklists, the guidelines are available to anyone in the industry. We won’t hide this work behind a membership firewall. However, in 2017, SIMA members will be seeing some new members-only value related to best practices in snow, including elements related to salt use.

I hope you will join with SIMA, access the guidelines and begin implementing a plan to reduce your usage while improving performance and managing risk. Download the guidelines today at

  • 17 stakeholders, representing snow contractors, facility management, deicing material supply, municipal, and equipment supply. The geographical distribution included reviewers from Canada, the Midwest, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic. SIMA also engaged three subject matter experts in the review process. 
  • SIMA reviewed more than 125 comments and recommendations from those stakeholders and subject matter experts.
  • Glossary-specific: As with all of the educational and best practices we produce, the guidelines are aligned with our Glossary of Terms. 
Phill Sexton is Director of Outreach for SIMA. Contact him at