Monthly Archives: July 2017

Reducing over-reliance on salt

 
 
 
 

‘There is a global push from an environmental perspective to hold the snow & ice management industry accountable for using salt more efficiently. Those who start now win.’
 
 
By Phill Sexton
Over the past 3 years, SIMA has helped lead an academic research study to help us understand best practice application methods and more precisely begin to calculate rates of salt that are both effective and efficient for facility-focused snow management – the initial results of the study are now available to members here. In partnership with Landscape Ontario and the University of Waterloo, SIMA has committed to an even broader leadership role moving forward. Over the next few seasons, the efforts of SIMA and our research partners will help identify how much salt the industry is currently applying, while deepening our understanding of realistic methods for salt reduction without impacting service.
As an industry, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the environmental effects of salt. The economic impacts have become clearer, particularly after last season’s challenges with supply and demand for salt. These recent fluctuations, and their significant risk potential for snow professionals, are symptoms of an over-reliance on salt within our industry. Yes, salt will always be an essential component in the snow management toolbox, but it can’t be the only one.
Societal perspectives have shifted over the past 15-20 years. Contractors are faced with higher-than-ever expectations for performing the work, while being forced to absorb more and more liability. These undeniable trends have led to a dramatic increase in salt output within our industry over time. Like it or not, these increases can have negative effects on the environment, particularly fresh water resources, which we as a human race rely on more than any other resource on earth. The current trends for salt usage in our industry will not continue without scrutiny.
There is a global push from an environmental perspective to hold the snow & ice management industry accountable for using salt more efficiently. Those who start now win. Those who continue to turn a blind eye and decide it’s ‘just a phase’ will eventually lose…. lose their credibility, lose their clients, and lose their business.
In this next phase of SIMA’s salt research we are working with a small group of members and the University of Waterloo to validate practical application rates by contractors, and then we will compare the results with those documented in a control study at the University of Waterloo. SIMA is also employing help from other research experts to lead a separate study for benchmarking current salt usage to compare with future usage as an industry. SIMA’s goal is to further develop and refine efficient application rates that can be more easily understood and implemented by snow professionals.
Ultimately we are working towards developing a standardized method for determining the most efficient salt application rates that provide the least impact to the environment, are defensible against slip and fall liability, and mitigate the risk of over-reliance on salt for business continuity.
Here are two simple ways you can help and take action:

This article was updated July 27, 2017, to ensure accuracy and relevancy.

Why don’t snow professionals value training like other industries?


‘Strategically, SIMA is working to shake the industry up and build a better, safer, and more efficient workforce.’

By Brian Birch, CAE
As SIMA has grown, we’ve built and launched many training events and products over the years. Recently we launched the Advanced Snow Management program, after literally years of project work and discussion.
 
The thing that has surprised me is that many snow professionals don’t necessarily value training in snow all that much.  Our surveys over the years clearly indicate that a great number of companies do very little formal training specific to snow each year.
 
The reasons for disinterest in training are many, and are not to be taken lightly; the cost of training is high, the challenge of keeping good employees is high, and often times the perception of the industry is low in general. And don’t get me wrong, there are many examples across North America of companies training well in snow and ice. But I do think that training and building key skills in the industry is something that can be strengthened over time. Strategically, SIMA is working to shake the industry up and build a better, safer, and more efficient workforce.
 
In late 2014, SIMA staff and a group of key volunteers known as the Stakeholder Advisory Group went through a strenuous process to apply for ANSI accreditation for all four Advanced Snow Management courses. After one full year of preparation, over 30 pages of documentation, $10,000+ in application fees and preparation expenses, 60+ documents, and countless hours, SIMA’s application was submitted in early December. Our application is under review until mid-January, and then the next step will be to have two ANSI auditors complete an in-person program audit.
 
So the question is; why did we invest so much time and effort into this process? The answer is quite simple; we are seeking to build the industry’s most powerful training verification program. We aim to set a new bar for professionals in the industry, one which empowers companies across North America to train key personnel to become safer, more efficient, and more skilled. We seek ANSI accreditation for our programs so that we can show those insurance and commercial facilities management folks that snow professionals mean business.
 
Snow professionals don’t value training as much as they should because they haven’t been given a good reason to do so – and you can help us change that. What action can you take to help? Here are a few thoughts:

This article was updated July 27, 2017, to ensure accuracy and relevancy.

A Comparison of the BOSS XT vs DXT

THE_BOSS_SMLet’s face it snow plows are bound to encounter obstacles.  Those obstacles could include manhole covers, curbs, frozen snow banks and everything in between.  If you have been snowplowing for any period of time, you could probably add a few other items to that list.  Obstructions and obstacles are one of the unavoidable dangers of snowplowing.

As such, snow plow manufacturers design and build snow plows with trip protection technology to help protect the plow and truck from damage.  The tripping mechanism works in tandem with the snow plow’s pressure relief valves that are also designed to reduce the impact caused by obstructions.  BOSS Snowplows, including the BOSS XT & DXT, are specifically designed with one of three types of tripping systems:

  • Trip-Edge Snow Plow:  Plows designed with a trip-edge will help reduce the impact on your plow should you hit an obstacle smaller than 6 inches high, these are commonly man-hole covers or large cracks in the pavement. When the trip-edge base angle hits these hidden obstructions, the base angle/edge of the plow trips backwards to “give way” to the object. This takes some of the force off of the entire plow, which means less impact to the plow itself, the front of your truck, and to you, the operator.  An example of a trip-edge snow plow is the BOSS Trip-Edge Super-Duty straight blade.
  • Full-Moldboard Trip Snow Plow:  With a full-moldboard trip snowplow, should you hit an object taller than 6 inches, the entire moldboard trips forward to cushion the impact. This greatly reduces the force on the plow and truck and helps keep you and your equipment safe.  An example of a full-moldboard trip snow plow is the BOSS XT v-plow or the BOSS Super-Duty straight blade.
  • Dual-Trip Snow Plow:  A plow with dual-trip protection has just what the name implies – two tripping systems.  In the case of a BOSS DXT snowplow, the plow is designed with both the trip-edge as well as the full-moldboard trip creating dual-trip protection.

As noted and reviewed above, BOSS manufactures two models of v-plows, the XT & the DXT each featuring a different trip design.  The XT v-blade is designed with a full-moldboard trip and the DXT v-blade with dual-trip protection.   One of the other main differences of these two blades is the cutting edge/base angle that is installed on new blades.  BOSS XT blades come installed with a high performance formed cutting edge while the DXT blade comes installed with a high performance trip-edge base angle that serves as the plows cutting edge until a certain wear point.  Once the trip-edge base angle on the DXT is worn down to the recommended wear point, a replacement cutting edge is bolted on and used as the wear edge.

In summary, the tripping mechanism and the wear edge are the main differences between the XT & DXT.  For a complete comparison you can view the product specification sheets:  XT | DXT.  In addition, the following video and infographic visually represents the differences between the two snowplows.

This article was updated July, 2017, to ensure accuracy and relevancy.

Certification as a Marketing Asset


A well-managed, well-respected certification program can add significant value to an individual’s credentials and help differentiate them in a tough market.’

By Ellen Lobello
Earning your Certified Snow Professional (CSP) designation is a major accomplishment that reflects personal and professional growth. The commitment to apply for the exam, study the material, pass the test, and then maintain the certification is not to be taken lightly. Over the past year, SIMA has taken significant steps to help ensure insurance providers and commercial facility management professionals don’t take it lightly either.

A well-managed, well-respected certification program can add significant value to an individual’s credentials and help differentiate them in a tough market. The key is to invest time and effort not only in the process of earning the certification, but also in the long-term marketing and communicating of the achievement. Whether you are communicating to your current insurance agent or to a potential client, the integrity, longevity and visibility of the certification program must be clearly communicated at the outset.

SIMA recently rebranded the entire CSP program. At that time we took the opportunity to create new marketing and communication resources for those who earn their certification. We created the CSP Marketing Toolkit, which is a sharp-looking package that includes a USB drive with a variety of ideas and tools on how to market the designation. CSPs can use it themselves or share it with a staff person or marketing firm to promote the certification in marketing materials, on websites and more.

SIMA is dedicated to helping CSPs find ongoing value and marketing opportunities with the certification, and the toolkit is a great step toward this effort. By marketing their designation on print materials, websites and social media, CSPs can share their commitment to safety and professionalism with a wide audience to help grow their business. 

Visit www.sima.org/certification for more information.

This article was updated July 27, 2017, to ensure accuracy and relevancy.

What Everyone Ought to Know Before Purchasing an ATV or UTV Snow Plow

What Kind of Job Are You Doing?

The type of job you plan on doing will play a huge part in the type of plow you chose. Generally, if you are plowing a heavy amount of sidewalks, which are very narrow, you’re going to want a smaller plow. You’ll want a plow that will clean the entire area without going over the edge of the sidewalk. BOSS offers a four foot ATV plow that is ideal for sidewalk use. Wider UTV snow plows are more equipped for residential, short driveways. If you are looking to plow more rugged terrain, such as a long camp drive, you might want to consider a v-plow as it can more easily break trail and cut through ice.

This article was updated July, 2017, to ensure accuracy and relevancy.