Prepping For the Powder

In Cold-Weather Climates, It Pays to be Ready When the Snow Flies.

Record-setting snowfall coupled with strong winds are bound to threaten cities – and quarry operations – across the United States this coming winter, and people equipped to get rid of that snow remain in high demand. For safety and sanity, it’s imperative to get snow and ice off of traveled areas quickly and thoroughly. That’s easier said than done, though. A haphazard approach or partially completed job will create more problems than it solves in the long run. For that reason, quarry operators need to be thoroughly prepared.

After 36 years in the snow-removal business, Randy Strait can easily be considered an expert in getting rid of the white stuff. He owns Arctic Snow & Ice Control Inc., and has tackled everything from his own driveway to parking lots at some of the nation’s biggest businesses.

No matter the size of the job, Strait says, “it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to preparing for snow removal. The climate is changing and the times are changing, and you need to be ready for what Mother Nature may bring.”

Strait recommends that quarry operators – or those looking to get into the snow-removal business – answer a few questions to gauge their preparedness.

How big is the area you’ll need to clear? A quarry operator can’t be prepared without a good understanding of not only the parts of the quarry operation he wishes to clear but also the type of equipment and number of personnel that will be needed to expediently handle the job.

What type of area will you need to clear? Does the property have curbs? Sidewalks? Parking areas? Does the quarry haul road have visible berms? Simply clearing the main path won’t do it. Carefully cleaning areas around outbuildings and maintenance garages will avoid a mess going in and slips and falls coming out.

What’s the state of your snow-removal equipment? Is it made for snow removal or simply your front-end loader? Even if it’s designed to handle snow, if it's not tuned up and ready to go before a storm, you'll be set back significantly. Ensure pre-use maintenance checks are complete so equipment is ready and waiting. Then, be proactive. Just as ambulances and police cars are faced out and ready to go in an emergency, so too should your snow-removal equipment.

How cold will it get? Ice can lead to slips and falls and, in turn, liability claims. Salt helps, but not if the temperatures plunge and make it ineffective. Make salt a non-factor on those frigid days by using a snow pusher that gets down to the pavement.

How quickly can you get to it? In the fight against snow, the adversary must be confronted head-on. Don't let it get a lead on you. Remember, you'll have to travel through less-than-ideal conditions to get the job done, so the closer personnel and equipment can be to the jobsite and the faster they can respond, the better the outcome will be.

In short, Strait recommends three key things for quarry operators attacking winter’s worst: provide outstanding customer service, be prepared for what Mother Nature will throw at you and have depth in your resources, including equipment and personnel.

Information for this article courtesy of Arctic Snow & Ice Control,