How To Keep Employees And Patrons Safe This Winter

These tips for preparing parking lots for winter will help reduce motor accidents, increase longevity of parking lots and walkways, and keep workers safe.

By Bob Lester

With cold weather on the horizon, the likelihood of accidents caused by slick conditions will be increasing, creating yet another safety concern for facility managers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even seemingly minor problems such as cracks and small holes in parking lots may pose a risk that facility managers and business owners may not have considered. Workers and customers are already dealing with enough stressors brought on by the pandemic. They shouldn’t have to worry about hazardous parking lots as well.

parking lots
(Credit: Getty Images/Five Buck Photos)

When preparing your parking lots for the winter, consider these tips to reduce motor accidents, increase the longevity of your parking lots and walkways, and keep your workforce safe.

Don’t Wait To Fill Cracks

While paving jobs are more widely performed during the spring and summer, emergency fixes during the winter shouldn’t be put off until warmer months. In fact, even though November and December are considered off-season for paving companies, many offer crack filling services in the winter as weather allows.

Filling cracks in a parking lot as soon as they start developing so they don’t expand will save you from a large-scale replacement project, which can go a long way during a time when business owners and facility managers are trying to conserve budgets to account for reduced revenue and increased pandemic-related expenses. More importantly, addressing potential hazards in your parking lot will protect employees and patrons from falls and damaged vehicles.

Temporarily Fix Potholes During Winter

parking lots
(Photo: Dura-Seal_

Using gravel or stone to fill in potholes can lead to safety hazards that further damage your parking lots. Additionally, gravel and stone patches can expand, causing the pothole to grow and leading to more expensive repairs in the spring. A temporary – yet effective – fix for potholes during the winter is cold patching when hot mixed asphalt is not available. Cold patching can keep parking lots and driveways healthy throughout the winter before problems become more costly and hazardous.

Mark Concrete Curbs And Potholes

Inclement weather like snow and sleet can obscure concrete curbs and potholes, leaving parking to be a guessing game. Facility managers should purchase flags to mark their concrete curbs so that snowplows don’t damage them and drivers can avoid accidents. When it comes to potholes, if permanent repairs can’t be done until spring, mark them with traffic cones and schedule an appointment to have repairs professionally done once the weather is warmer.

Move Snow Downhill

With sub-zero temperatures and snow comes the potential for ice. Keep snow piles on the lower side of your parking lot whenever possible so that as the snow melts, the water will run into the grass and doesn’t cause refreeze issues on the pavement, walkways, or driveways. This will protect your workforce and customers from falls and reduce the likelihood of car accidents caused by frozen lots.

Prioritizing these items is important now more than ever. Staying ahead of seemingly minor problems and making sure to be informed on parking lot maintenance best practices will allow for more energy to be put into protecting workers and guests from pandemic-related safety issues, rather than large-scale building maintenance issues.

Bob Lester is president and CEO of Columbus, OH-based Dura-Seal, a sealcoating, asphalt, and concrete services company. He has worked in the paving industry for over 20 years, leading two buyouts, an acquisition, and the sale of an equipment manufacturing company at Dura-Seal. Prior to joining the company, Bob studied business finance at Otterbein University.

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