Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Snow Safety Week 2017 Review

Last week, SIMA and sponsors Caterpillar, BOSS Snowplow, and RAM Trucks produced the sixth annual Snow Safety Week. With 2 webinars, numerous articles, and several 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! 

Dear Snow Contractor: You are more at risk for slipping and falling than anyone else! View now
SIMA recently surveyed the industry to understand what the most common types of accidents that result in injuries, lost work time, and ultimately workman’s comp claims are. Over 50% of injuries reported were the result of slipping and falling, the very thing the industry is out there trying to help reduce! Walk through the survey results and a job safety analysis of several hazardous scenarios.

Managing the threat of workplace conflict
View now

What happens when two employees don’t get along, and things escalate toward emotional or physical violence? Taking proactive steps in policy, and coaching yourself in dealing with conflict in general, can go a long way to keeping all your employees safe.

Check out some of the highlights from our Snow Safety Week articles: 
Check out SIMA's Facebook event page to see 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!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ready to rock this winter!

New SIMA board chair shares vision for the coming year

By Doug Knott, CSP
Snow season is nearly upon us! I’m Doug Knott, and I am your board chair until October 2018. I have been a SIMA member since 2009, a membership that has helped my professional growth significantly. I’ve also made several good friends along the way. I encourage everyone to get active — at least out of self-interest — so you, too, can grow professionally, make some lasting friendships and help make a positive impact upon our industry.

My wife Michelle and I own and run Knott’s Land Care, LLC in Amherst, NH. Our children have grown up with our company and can probably tell you more about it than me since they have always had to listen to business talk at the dinner table. 

I believe in giving back to and being an active participant in my local community. I am an active Rotarian and a member of my local planning board. My family is most important to me, but I also enjoy attempting to golf (I even played in a 100 Holes of Golf in One Day charity event held by my Rotary Club) and playing electric bass in a loose definition of a band. Maybe they will let me play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during next summer’s Snow & Ice Symposium in Cleveland!

Goals for 2017-18
As with most of you, my experience in the snow industry has been rewarding and challenging. The industry is always going to have challenges, but together, we can make it a better place to live and work. Here’s what we will do at SIMA headquarters to move the needle in the next year:

Building a workforce: Our members consistently report that finding and retaining good employees is challenging. We are hot off the heels of our first Season Opener event that focused on this topic. Watch for a new set of recommendations and best practices for recruiting and retaining key snow employees soon. We are also continuously helping more professionals earn their Advanced Snow Manager and Certified Snow Professional designations, a key step in professionalism and achievement for anyone serious about the snow industry.

Rocking in the Free World: I’m an avid music fan, and I can’t wait to go to the 21st annual Snow & Ice Symposium in Cleveland in June 2018. It’s a chance to meet great friends, take advantage of the best education the industry has to offer and experience a championship city! Look for some new educational ideas and workshops from SIMA this year.

Best Practices blueprint: SIMA stakeholders have spent hours developing our Glossary of Terms and best practices guidelines. The association is focused on helping all parties, from contractors to facilities managers, adopt and use these guides to build that next layer of quality into the industry. We really do take our mission seriously: Empowering snow and ice management professionals for success. 

Giving thanks
I would also like to mention Immediate Past Board Chair Justin Gamester, CSP. Justin and I have served together on the board for six years. I always look forward to traveling to SIMA events and in-person meetings with Justin. Though he is almost 15 years younger than me (I look younger, though) he has been a great sounding board and confidant. Justin, thank you for your service and friendship.

To my wife Michelle, I want to thank you for your support in our business and giving me the time to serve in an even greater capacity on the SIMA Board of Directors. To our children, thank you as well for allowing us to build our company; you have pitched in since we started and continue to as I write.

I hope everyone has a profitable season financially and in professional growth. If you have questions or if I may be of service, feel free to contact me at doug@knottlandcare.com.

Doug Knott, CSP, owns Knott’s Land Care in Amherst, NH. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

CSP testing moves online

'Becoming a CSP is now more accessible than ever - what are you waiting for?'

These days, nearly everything can be done from the comfort of your home or office computer, from shopping to online classes and meetings and more. You can now add SIMA's Certified Snow Professional exam to that list. Online testing is now available for the first time in the program's history.

SIMA's CSP program has been the standard for excellence in business for the past 10 years. We have 199 CSPs today, but we believe a key reason limiting the industry's uptake of the CSP is testing delivery. To adhere to above-average standards, we previously required candidates to take the exam at a physical testing center. In response to feedback regarding exam delivery, a program review and our successful rollout of online testing for the Advanced Snow Management program, we moved forward with online delivery of the CSP exam in June 2017.

In the new process, exams are offered online once per month. Once a candidate successfully submits and application, they sign up for an exam date. On that day, the exam is placed into their online SIMA Training Center account at www.sima.org/resources. Candidates then have two days to complete the six sections of the exam: Business, Human Resources, Marketing, Sub-Contractors, Snow & Ice Science, and Snow & Ice Operations and Techniques. Candidates have two opportunities in the exam time period to pass each section. If any sections are not passed, they can be retake during a future test date.

In addition to the ease of online testing, you can also save $100 on the Certified Snow Professional application fee, courtesy of sponsor BOSS Snowplow, when you submit a completed application now through October 31, 2017. Learn more here.

By improving access to the CSP program, we hope that more owners, salespeople, operations managers and financial and administrative leaders will take the leap to become certified. Becoming a CSP is now more accessible than ever - what are you waiting for?

For more information on the CSP program and online testing, visit www.sima.org/CSP or email Ellen@sima.org.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New SIMA Training Videos Available Now

Snow management is tough. Annual training doesn’t 
have to be.

A core resource that SIMA has provided to the industry over the past 20 years is its training video series, consisting of seven videos focused on different aspects of snow and ice management. SIMA videos have helped thousands of industry workers be safer and more efficient. As with everything, training videos get old and need an update; so SIMA has been working with several partners to create a new snow-specific series of training videos. We recently launched six new videos as part of the Snow Management Video Training Series from SIMA:
  • Snowplowing Safety & Preparation: This video is designed to introduce snowplow operators to basic snowplowing principles and general techniques, including pre-season preparations and checks, transporting the plow, and general plowing tips and techniques.
  • Essential Snowplowing Techniques: This video concentrates on commercial snow removal operations. It assumes the operator has received basic training, knows safety issues and has experience in clearing driveways and other properties. It includes equipment and safety, techniques & obstacles, and plow scenarios.
  • Snow Site Engineering and Planning: This video walks through the process of planning and implementing a site engineering strategy, to increase safety and efficiency, and to identify key obstacles, priorities, and hazards prior to the snow season.
  • Containment Snow Plows and Pushers: This video provides a comprehensive look at the recommended use of containment plows. It covers practical and strategic operations, including benefits of using a containment plow, operator safety, and troubleshooting on-site issues.
  • Sidewalk clearing of snow and ice: This video highlights key safety issues and techniques needed to use shovels and snow blowers in clearing snow and ice from walkways. It includes guidelines for dressing appropriately, health and wellness tips, shoveling techniques, and snowblower safety and techniques.
  • Skid Steer loaders and compact equipment: This video covers a wide range of topics on skid steer loaders and compact equipment, including site application, attachments, techniques, safety, training and preventive maintenance. Other topics include equipment advantages, common mistakes, and tips and bidding help.
Videos are available in both English and Spanish, and can be purchased a la carte or as a package. Visit www.sima.org/snowtraining for more information and to see a preview of one of the new videos, or purchase them streaming online at www.sima.org/resources. DVD versions of the new videos are coming soon.