Issue 1 â€¢ 2020
The case for
equipment over trucks
PUBLICATION MAIL AGREEMENT #40934510
in snow removal applications
The snow removal industry insurance dilemma
Hardscape-friendly de-icers for asphalt, brick, and concrete
snow. ult against a s s a e th ow clearing like to lead le to any sn b those who ta r p a fo d t a il u is b ing nowWing is the SnowW l. The HLA S formations t n a single too re h fe it if w d s e in d y la fl b to w d o Designe xclusive of other sn g a variety , and an e in m c te la s p y re S k n s o ta ti Tire Protec ailer pins. Actuators, s such as tr g ry n a ta o rh R e v d o patente e under low It features for clearanc * p ti g in w removeable formation. r for more in ings only le a e d l a c lo on 5 foot w r *availableISSUE 1 â€“ 2020 | SNOW MANAGER Contact you
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s message, Shayna Wiwierski......................................6 Does your business need automatic shift planning?........... 7 Runway incursion by snow plow proceeding through holding position onto active runway........................8 The snow removal industry insurance dilemma................ 10 The importance of having the proper insurance to defend your snow removal business............................... 12 Growing your business with the right equipment.............. 14 The bidding is done: Calhoun Super Structure awarded Sourcewell contract................................................ 17 Drive safely around snowplows............................................ 19
Published by: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com President/Publisher David Langstaff Managing Editor Shayna Wiwierski Sales Manager Dayna Oulion email@example.com Advertising Sales Brent Astrope Jennifer Hebert Contributing writers Ted Butler Marie-Noelle Morency Chad Parker
Hardscape-friendly de-icers for asphalt, brick, and concrete................................................. 20
The case for equipment over trucks in snow removal applications............................................... 22
Production services provided by S.G. Bennett Marketing Services www.sgbennett.com
SnowEx® HELIXX TM stainless-steel hopper spreaders feature revolutionary material delivery system....................................................... 24
Creative Director Kathy Cable
Index to advertisers............................................................... 26
Layout / Advertising Art Dave Bamburak Lindsey Ordonez ................................................................................ Subscription information available. Please contact DEL Communications Inc. Two issues for $12.00 © Copyright 2020 DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and the reliability of the source, the publisher in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees.
COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF
Arctic Snow & Ice arcticsnowandiceproducts.com 4
Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg, MB R3L 0G5 Printed in Canada 03/2020
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Editor’s message Spring has finally sprung!
ith warmer weather comes
implications behind not fully paying attention
melting snow and slush, and
on the job.
although we will definitely get
Of course it wouldn’t be an issue of Snow
some warmer days ahead, there are sure to be some cold ones as well.
Manager without all the supplier features you know and love, and we highlight some
We all know what happens when the weather
products and equipment that will sure to
gets colder and there is slush on the ground.
make your job a little easier.
That slush soon turns to ice and the risk of
I hope you enjoy this spring issue of Snow
slip and falls is definitely something that snow and ice removal professionals have to keep in mind. In this issue of Snow Manager we take a look at the legal implications of slip and falls and how they can affect your business, both financially and professionally. We also look into a Montreal incident where the snow
Manager magazine, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or story ideas, feel free to send them my way. Shayna Wiwierski Managing editor Shayna@delcommunications.com @DELCommInc
plow operator was disengaged and the
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ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
Does your business need automated shift planning? By Ashley Gamble
epending on where you are in Canada, by the time you’re reading this article, it may have been weeks since the last snowstorm in your region. While you may be swapping out your toque for a baseball hat, this is the perfect time to think about how you’ll coordinate shifts when the temperature drops and the snow flies again later this year.
to confirm their shift details and then
Many businesses that rely on temporary workers, or need to fill high-volume shifts quickly, have found automated shift planning saves time for managers while simplifying the process for workers.
understand notification alerts them to
Will it work for your organization? Here are some of the factors to consider:
Access Consider a service with 24/7 access. It’s convenient and once you’re set up and you’ve identified and approved a talent pool, they can log in at any time – day or night – to select a shift. Likewise, you need a service that allows managers to post a shift at any time.
manually adding them to a schedule. An effective system is 100 per cent automated.
A better experience for your workforce For temporary workers, this experience is smoother than traditional shift planning. A system with built-in, easy to available shifts. They know the instant a
Keep in mind, in many regions across Canada it’s a jobseeker’s market. Tools like automated shift planning can help to make your organization the one jobseekers seek out. If this sounds like it might be a fit for your organization, look for a service that’s currently operational, such as Randstad Canada’s youplan, so you can test it and speak to current users to understand how they’re leveraging the technology.
forth communication – saving time and
Ashley Gamble is vice-president, Randstad Inhouse Services with Randstad Canada, the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR services. She is based in Mississauga,
job is available and can opt to decline or accept on the spot. This avoids back and
OUR STRENGTH IS IN OUR STRUCTURE
Streamlined planning As an employer, scheduling the workers you need is as simple as posting the shift details on a centralized webpage. Only workers you’ve previously vetted and approved are granted access to the site. This saves your organization valuable time: no more chasing down workers SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
The Bidding is Done. Calhoun’s new Sourcewell Co-Op Contract puts your new fabric structure on the ground faster. This means the bid process has already been satisfied so you can receive price quotes with ceiling-based pricing, and continue to rely on Calhoun’s local dealer network for installation and support.
Let’s get started.
Runway incursion by snow plow proceeding through holding position onto active runway
he Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (A19Q0015) January 21, 2020 on an incident in which four snow-removal vehicles entered an active runway at Montréal/ Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport as an aircraft was preparing to land. On February 2, 2019, snow-removal operations were being conducted at the airport. A convoy of seven vehicles was instructed to proceed from Runway 24R to holding bay 24L. At the same time, a Bombardier CRJ 200 operated by SkyWest Airlines was flying the instrument landing system approach and had been cleared to land on Runway 24L. A runway incursion occurred at 11:19:04 EST, when the lead vehicle in the convoy, a snow plow-sweeper, crossed the runway holding position and
continued onto the runway. The flight crew initiated a go-around, flying over the lead vehicle in the convoy, which had been followed by three additional snow plow-sweepers. The aircraft landed safely about 15 minutes later. The convoy subsequently regrouped and completed the snow-removal operations. There were no injuries or damage. The TSB has identified a series of causes and contributing factors in this runway incursion. The investigation found that the convoy lead, focused on the tasks of driving, snow removal, and planning the next snow-removal pass, missed the runway holding position lighting, signage, and markings, forgot about the requirement to hold short, and proceeded onto Runway 24L. Three other vehicles in the convoy followed the lead vehicle and passed the runway holding position,
which increased the severity of the incursion. The ground controller on duty was multitasking and conducting an operational phone call, which led to a breakdown of his scanning and monitoring, delayed his response, and increased the incursion’s severity. “This was a slow day for Montreal in respect to aircraft movements, but the ground personnel were still busy because of snow fall,” says JeanPierre Régnier, senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. “As you can imagine, in degraded weather conditions, they were busy and they had a lot of work to do. The convoy lead, although he was experienced and qualified for the job, he was concentrated on his next activity, which was snow removal on the next runway and he just drove by holding position.” ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
“I think that Aéroports de Montréal has done a considerable amount of work since the occurrence to debrief ground crews and personnel, and modify the procedures to hopefully prevent similar events from happening in the future,” says Jean-Pierre Régnier, senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
The investigation also found that if vehicle operator training does not include runway incursion scenarios, convoy operators may not be sufficiently prepared to take necessary safety actions to reduce the associated risks. Further, air traffic control instructions that direct ground vehicles to runways and do not contain explicit instruction to hold short of an active runway can increase the potential for misunderstanding and increase the risk of an incursion. Following the occurrence, Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) held meetings to raise awareness of runway incursions and to obtain employee feedback on the occurrence. An internal investigation within the ADM safety management system was conducted, including brainstorming/mapping and a risk analysis of the event. ADM modified procedures and employee training, and has added the issue of runway incursions to the agenda for its next meeting with NAV Canada’s Runway Safety Action Team. “I think that Aéroports de Montréal has done a considerable amount of work since the occurrence to debrief ground crews and personnel, and modify the procedures to hopefully prevent similar events from happening in the future,” says Régnier. “They have done a great job in supporting the TSB investigation of this occurrence.” ■ SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
The snow removal industry insurance dilemma By Ted Butler
ecently, I was asked to attend a municipal snow
The answer, unfortunately, was rather anti-climactic.
removal sub-contractors meeting which was held by
“Just standard city policy,” retorted the city manager. But
a local Canadian city. Contractor meetings like this
the question itself had highlighted a major issue that has
are held in almost every city in Canada to help prepare the
become a nationwide dilemma within the snow removal
city’s snow removal contractors for the upcoming winter
Canadian insurance companies are choosing to either
Representatives from all the local municipal snow removal
refuse coverage to contractors or they are implementing
contractors were in attendance, and as expected, the
massive premium rate hikes to cover the cost of the ever-
standard issues were discussed. Issues such as route
increasing lawsuits which are plaguing the industry.
assignments, “on-call” procedures, and invoice payments,
These massive premium rate increases have forced many
etc. The usual mundane stuff, but then suddenly, halfway
contractors right out of the business.
through the meeting, one particular contractor stood up and asked a question of the city which immediately became the focus of the entire meeting.
There are three main areas of snow removal affected: high-density residential properties (high-rise condos and apartments), high-traffic commercial properties (shopping
The question simply was ”Why do us sub-contractors have
malls and big box retailers), and public highways and
to carry such incredibly high and expensive insurance
coverage, especially considering the fact that when a resident sues for a slip and fall incident, they actually sue the city, not the contractor?”
Snow removal contractors operate on a seasonal basis, typically turning to landscaping and lawn maintenance or general hauling during the summer months. These
The room went silent. Everyone in the room was thinking the
industries are also a major problem for insurance
same thing. What a great question.
companies – from the use of pesticides on lawns to constant
ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
litigation for slip and fall claims from residents. As a result, many insurers have significantly cut back on insuring this type of business. The insurance industry in Canada has introduced several measures to try to help alleviate this problem, such as standardized contracts, loss prevention, and risk management programs to address the challenges facing snow removal companies. Unfortunately, the frequency and the severity of claims from lawsuits continues to increase drastically every year, which has created a major concern within the industry. In Ontario for example, the province’s statutory duty
Snow removal sub-contractors have to carry such incredibly high and expensive insurance coverage to cover the cost of the everincreasing lawsuits which are plaguing the industry.
to maintain roads and highways in a safe condition has generated million-dollar lawsuits against the province. In
new business for snow removal contractors.
some cases, residents have successfully sued the province
The problem for the insurance companies is generating
by alleging that improper road sanding on portions of
enough revenue from premiums to cover the amount of the
provincial highways had caused their traffic accident to
lawsuits. Meanwhile, the problem for the contractors is the
occur. In one particular legal decision, an Ontario court
premiums are getting so high, they’re unable to make any
found that the province was 70 per cent responsible for
profit from the operations.
damages in excess of $5 million. Another similar case resulted in a $3.8 million award of damages against the province.
The real underlying problem Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here; the real
These two lawsuits represent a few of the larger awards,
underlying problem is not the snow removal contractors. Nor
but they’re just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended).
is it the insurance companies. The real problem here is the
There are also many other minor lawsuits involving smaller
fact that Canadians nowadays seem to have an increased
snow removal companies adding up to millions of dollars.
willingness to legally sue others. Particularly for minor
Accurate numbers are not available from the contractors
incidents like slip and falls. It is this factor, more than any
or the insurance companies about the total cost of these
other, that has created this nation-wide insurance dilemma
smaller slip and fall claims, but they are increasing
in the snow removal industry today.
substantially every year.
Canada is simply becoming a more litigious society. In
Provincial ministries set the standards for contractors
the past, when a person slipped and fell on ice, they would
and monitor their operations before, during, and after
simply pick themselves up, brushed themselves off and
winter storms. Contractors are closely scrutinized for their
carry on with their day. Maybe the worst-case scenario
compliance to these standards and the penalties for failure
might be a visit to the doctor and be processed though
to comply are quite severe, including loss of contract.
our national health care system. Today, they tend to seek
Yet this does not remove liability from the province. Government contracts require that all sub-contractors must secure adequate insurance, regardless of the increased premiums. Another disturbing part of this issue is the many loopholes found in snow removal contracts. Loopholes that usually place the liability for slips and falls onto the contractor. Poorly written or loosely worded contracts will often mean the liability issue will be contested in a court of law. Many contractors have signed contracts which have unwittingly
additional compensation through litigation. Any homeowner who has a public sidewalk crossing their front lawn is aware of the perils of not clearing the snow to allow neighbours to walk past. A slip and fall on your front step by a visitor could cost you dearly. The solution is simple, but government action is required. Lawsuit controls must be put into place. Maximum dollar values for which a person is able to sue others must be established. Millions of dollars of litigation for a slip and fall
accepted liability far above and beyond what their insurers
were prepared to accept. It is for this reason that many
We will all indirectly end up paying for this dilemma
insurance companies are no longer interested in writing
through the increased costs of services and taxation. ■
SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
By purchasing snow removal insurance, it is an absolute necessity to have due to the potential likelihood of incidents that could occur during the snow removal process or afterwards.
The importance of having the proper insurance to defend your snow removal business By Johna Autencio, Digital Marketing, Oracle RMS Insurance Brokers Although we are officially in the early stages of the spring
extraordinary high risk work. By purchasing snow removal
season, we find that we are still having winter weather of
insurance, it is an absolute necessity to have due to the
cold temperatures and snow. As snow continues to fall and
potential likelihood of incidents that could occur during the
stick to the ground, that is when snow removal contractors
snow removal process or afterwards.
come to the rescue.
For example, the biggest risk a snow removal business faces
By hiring a snow removal contractor, it will eliminate the
is slip and falls. This type of incident can allegedly occur
need to constantly shovel, as it will save plenty of time. In
whether you performed a decent job or not, and will almost
addition, quality service will be provided the moment there
always result in a lawsuit.
is a snowfall. However, before a contract has been declared,
“The main operation of a snow removal business is to
it is important to make sure that every snow removal
prevent people from slipping and falling. It is important to
contractor is insured.
disclose what types of business that you service, whether it is residential, commercial, or industrial, and have your true
Why should snow removal contractors have insurance?
receipts [so] in case something does happen, you’ll have the
With that being said, if you are a snow removal contractor, it
an account executive at Oracle RMS.
is known that operating a snow removal business involves
In 2017, there have been over 9,000 individuals in Canada
proper insurance to defend yourself,” says Daniel Italiano,
ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
Snow removal insurance will properly insure your equipment to ensure you’re always covered if they’re ever compromised, even during off season.
Oracle RMS owners, John Ferraro (left) and Michael Di Nardo (right).
who’ve slipped and fallen on ice, resulting in hospitalization.
building and its contents. This includes equipment, tools,
Therefore, snow removal insurance is beneficial to have as
and third-party property, such as the repairs or potential
coverage and will protect your business should legal action
replacement needed if the snow plow is damaged. It also
provides coverage for other costs associated with theft and sometimes can reimburse you for the cost of rental tools.
Are there any other risks involved?
• Commercial Auto Coverage: This type of coverage
Without snow removal insurance, your business can face
will protect you in case of accidents that have hurt
many risks such as the usage of equipment, tools, and
someone or caused damages to a third-party property. It
trucks. In the case of snow removals, snow plows and tools
also ensures any vehicle used for business purposes is
are always at risk of potential damage, theft, or unexpected
protected from risk while out on the job in unfavourable
danger. Snow removal insurance will properly insure your
weather conditions, and covers any equipment or tools that
equipment to ensure you’re always covered if they’re ever
are attached to the vehicle(s).
compromised, even during off season.
About Oracle RMS What are the types of coverage a snow removal business needs?
Oracle RMS is an award-winning insurance brokerage in
At Oracle RMS, we offer snow removal insurance at
have assembled a powerhouse of insurance professionals
affordable costs that are tailored to your unique situation.
who are committed to providing customers with exceptional
But, there are three main coverages for snow removal
service and risk protection.
businesses to have, which are: • Commercial General Liability Coverage: This type of
Ontario. Michael Di Nardo and John Ferraro, the founders,
“At Oracle RMS, we specialize in providing owners of small to mid-size businesses with a better level of insurance
coverage will protect you and your business from a loss if
protection and personal service than they expect,” says John
you’re legally accountable for property damage to a third-
Ferraro. “We will tailor a customized insurance coverage
party or bodily injury, which was caused by a product
plan around every business owner’s specific needs and not
you sell or the service you provide, such as a slip and fall
what would be best for us to sell them.”
accident that had occurred on plowed property. • Commercial Property Coverage: This type of coverage will protect physical assets such as your SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
With an extensive network of insurance partners, a widerange of products and services, and dedicated experts, Oracle RMS always has you covered. ■ 13
Growing your business with the right equipment By Olivia Roy
ust about every serious snow contractor remembers what it was like to start out with one pickup truck and a plow. When the snow came, there was good money to be made. More importantly, you found your passion, grabbing every opportunity that came your way. You hired your friends, took on more customers, and dreamed of a bright financial future. However, dreams do not always turn into reality and, at some point, all attempts to further grow the business seem to hit a brick wall. The larger customers that you were attracting were more demanding, the crews were larger but not as reliable, and you found yourself worrying more and more about contracts, liability insurance, and the price of salt. You had more overhead, your equipment was aging, and your margins were being squeezed such that it felt like you were simply treading water. The problem stemmed from the fact that your efficiencies were too low to generate the profits needed to fuel your growth, and you most likely found yourself working day and night during every snowstorm at whatever task was necessary to simply stay afloat. That was the scenario for most every commercial snow contractor 20 to 14
25 years ago. Having a couple of large steady clients allowed some local growth, but trying to expand much beyond that was extremely challenging, especially in a very competitive market. Today, however, is a different story. In the last 10 to 15 years, the industry has had a significantly different experience whereby small companies have turned into hugely successful enterprises in a relatively short period of time, running fleets numbering in the hundreds. When recently surveying many of the largest selfperforming U.S. commercial snow contractors, two factors stood out far above the rest as making that possible. The first was the move away from truck fleets to construction equipment. The second was the introduction of a new type of hightech/high-efficiency snow pusher, starting around 2006.
Construction equipment vs. plow trucks The industry has made a decided shift into heavy iron. Skid steers, compact track loaders, wheel loaders, and even backhoes have taken the place of plow trucks in large commercial retail malls, distribution centres, railyards, hospitals, and corporate parking lots. They have proven to be superior to
traditional plow trucks for several reasons, largely coinciding with the advent of the box/containment plow or snow pusher. Construction machines offer several advantages to trucks. Not only do their power and efficiency dwarf the capabilities of trucks, but the business model requiring machines to be parked on site for the entire season is so attractive to both contractor and customer that the practice is now standard. Todayâ€™s largest snow fleets are now dominated by machines, with plow trucks relegated to serving small outlying accounts that require the flexibility of a routed vehicle. Here are some of the obvious advantages the construction machines offer over trucks with plows when taking on large commercial properties: 1. T hey are ideally suited to the business model of seasonal contracts whereby equipment remains on a customersâ€™ site for the season and crews start plowing when they get there. This model allows for a natural rotation of operators while it also minimizes the insurance liability of having employees drive to and from their work sites in company vehicles. 2. T hey allow for more efficient ISSUE 1 â€“ 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
attachments (pushers, etc.) to be used, removing greater quantities of snow in less time. 3. M ore creative and efficient snow clearing techniques are possible, such as backdragging and stacking. Large pusher attachments are capable of making long containment runs which clear the snow from the lot rather than simply move it to the side, allowing customers greater overall use of their parking lots. 4. S ignificant fuel savings are realized as typical pickup trucks run at 250 to 475 HP, but the most common machines range from 74 to 175 HP. Also, there is no fuel spent commuting to and from the site.
When looking at snow removal, the following is a good rule of thumb: With the right attachment, a skid steer can perform the work of three pickup trucks; a wheel loader can do the work of seven. Once the first plow manufacturer decided to put side panels on a snowplow and create the first box or containment plow, also known as a snow pusher, the industry changed forever. Protech Inc. is credited with launching the first generation of snow pushers and they were designed to be mounted to machines. They required being chained to buckets or, in some cases, welded to boom arms, which then forced the need to cut them off
bumps of any surface and miss much of that last inch or so of snow, forcing contractors to re-plow every lot with the narrower plow trucks before salt could be laid down. Of course, those were not the only frustrations they created. They had problems with heavy wet snow or very large loads since their front-loaded weight would lift the two front tires off the ground and defeat even the largest equipment’s ability to move the snow to the end of a run. Keeping the pusher level to prevent uneven wear was a task that only the most experienced operators could handle, making it difficult to rapidly train new crew members. Their size also presented
5. L icensing, insurance, and other fees are less or non-existent with construction machines. 6. V isibility is significantly greater on all sides, including visibility right to the attachment performing the work. This not only improves efficiency, but significantly reduces the kinds of mistakes that risk operator, equipment, or property damage. 7. S kid steers and track machines can do a 360° pivot, minimizing the need to operate in reverse, another efficiency and safety benefit. 8. T hanks to quick couplers and universal mount designs, machines provide the ability to easily change attachments from pushers to brooms to front-loading salt spreaders. Added up, the benefits of machines far outweigh plow trucks for large commercial properties. However, their total value increases dramatically depending on the specific attachment they employ.
Selecting the right attachments – How the efficiency of pushers led to the high-tech revolution in snow attachments SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
The Protech pusher earned its popularity by moving large amounts of snow but left much behind to re-plow.
in the spring so that warm weather
another problem in that collisions
attachments could take their place.
with manholes, obstructions, or other
Nevertheless, they became very
surface anomalies were far more
popular starting in the mid ‘90s and
violent than normal and would risk
soon became the workhorse of the
more serious injuries to the operator,
industry as several other established
as well as very costly damage to the
plow manufacturers, including Boss
pusher, often creating a total loss in the
Snowplows, moved quickly to produce
thousands of dollars.
very similar models of their own.
When it came to efficiency, snow
Ironically, it was the popularity of the large pushers that created the explosive demand for the construction machines.
pushers certainly helped. However, due to their design drawbacks, contractors still spent too much time with too many operators clearing
The attraction of pushers was that
their clients’ properties. Furthermore,
they were quite large and designed to
losing a critical resource in the middle
move large amounts of snow at a much
of a storm due to an impact with a
faster rate than truck plows, and they
manhole cover, curb, or light pole
could stack the snow as well. However,
would likely mean extra overtime
their length came at a price as they
or lost revenue that might not be
would teeter totter on the rises or
recoverable. Finally, the need to 15
replow to avoid expensive saltings never went away. In total, this type of pusher simply wasn’t enough to correct the efficiency issues to the level at which growth would soon become unhinged.
The invention that changed the industry In 2006, a new kind of pusher hit the market and it was unlike anything the world had seen. Randy Strait, the founder and owner of Arctic Snow and Ice Control, Inc., a large Chicago area snow contractor based in Frankfort, IL, and a serious inventor in his own right, had an idea for a new kind of plow that would deal with his frustration over replowing. His idea was to divide the large one-piece moldboard into several moveable sections that could contour to the pavement as if it were being plowed by individual hand shovels. The result was a revolutionary design that would change the industry forever and eventually lead the industry to rethink their own designs. The highly patented and trademarked Arctic Sectional Sno-Pusher™ literally solved every major issue with pushers. This new design, made up of sections in either 24-, 30-, or 32-inch widths, contoured flawlessly to the rises and depressions in the pavement surface leaving nothing behind, by far the cleanest scrape the industry had ever seen and still has never duplicated. Strait, however, went several steps
Articulated sections and side panels allow the Sectional Sno-Pusher™ to ride up on sidewalks.
Growing one’s business with construction equipment and Arctic Sectional Sno-PushersTM.
further. He developed a patented two-step obstacle avoidance system that started with individual springoperated trip edges on each section that would flip back over manhole covers and other obstructions up to three inches in height rather than slam the operator and machine to an abrupt stop or destroy the pusher. Then he integrated the trip mechanism with the vertical movement of the sections to allow each section to float harmlessly over curbs, boulders, and other encountered obstructions up to nine inches in height. They could also drop into depressions up to nine inches, into the so called “birdbaths” that would have previously retained countless pockets of ice and snow.
independently of the machine, keeping all four machine tires on the ground at all times since it transferred no weight to the front of the machine. This not only provided maximum traction, but larger pushers could be put on smaller horsepower machines and more snow could be moved. The traction benefits were only compounded by the fact that tires were not slipping on hardpack or ice any more due to how well the pusher scraped. An added benefit was that the pusher was now self-leveling for immediate drop and go operation, which allowed beginning operators to plow like experts in no time. Finally, the independent action of the Slip Hitch™ provided an additional layer of impact protection.
Introducing mechanical side panels that moved in sync with the individual moldboards was Strait’s next innovation that not only protected the fragile side panels from curb impacts on turns, but also allowed the pusher to ride onto sidewalks and clear both roadways and sidewalks at the same time. Unexpectedly, this also allowed the Arctic “Sectional” to expertly back drag sidewalks and gutters right to the edge, something that the others cannot.
His final patent was related to his decision to reject the use of springs for vertical movement. Instead, the individual sections were mounted to the frame via flexible polyurethane pads or “polyblocks”. They proved to be superior to springs in several ways. First, they allowed for a superior range of motion when compared to springs, which was necessary for not only clearing curbs and other higher obstacles, but also to give the pusher the ability to get into depressions, something which spring designs could not do. Secondly, they gave the operator the ability to apply as little or as much downward pressure to the cutting edges as he wanted, which meant that this pusher, and this pusher alone, could cut through ice and hardpacked snow like it was powder.
He tackled an additional problem with his patented universal Slip Hitch™ mounting system, which quickly became the envy of the industry. It gave the operator the ability to mount his pusher to any machine manufacturer’s built-in coupler without the need for chains or welds, and he could attach and detach without leaving the comfort of his warm cab. It also allowed the attachment to float
The final benefit of using polyblocks became obvious after Strait had completed his design and began ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
Calhoun HT series 72 x 90 structure for salt storage.
Contract # 091319-CLH
The bidding is done! Calhoun Super Structure awarded Sourcewell contract in Fabric Structures With Related Materials and Services category.
alhoun Super Structure was recently awarded a Sourcewell (formerly known as NJPA) contract, one of North America’s largest governmental
in North America for almost 30 years. Supported by an authorized dealer network, each Calhoun structure is engineered to meet the highest quality standards, and
cooperative contract holders. The contract allows Calhoun
is fully customizable to meet the needs of public works
Super Structure to better serve public works officials by
officials and associated building applications. Calhoun
streamlining access to its fabric structure facilities.
creates the safest and most reliable structures on the
“Cooperative purchasing is becoming the way forward
market. Calhoun - Our Strength is in Our Structure.
in ensuring governmental customers receive top value for their salt storage building investment,” says Jeremy Calhoun, president/owner of Calhoun Super Structure. “This
For more information, visit www.calhounsuperstructure. com/sourcewell, or call 1-844-873-3338. ■
awarded contract allows us to promote our product to public works officials based on its true merit: quality, technological advancements in engineering, and general safety of our product.” Cooperative purchasing for governmental customers is on the rise due to its simple process and time-saving benefits. It allows member agencies the ability to make decisions for salt storage building purchasing based on overall value. Sourcewell, a government agency, has satisfied the competitive solicitation process on behalf of their 50,000 members. Sourcewell members have access to over 350 contracts across numerous categories such as construction, facilities, public safety, technology, administration, and more. Calhoun has been an industry leader in fabric structures SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
Calhoun HT Series 60 x 60 structure for salt storage.
extensive field testing in his fleet. He had already rejected springs on several levels when it came to range of motion and dealing with hardpacked snow or ice. What he soon discovered was that the benefits of polyblocks vastly exceeded his expectations when it came to the way they survived impacts, as well as normal wear and tear, and generally extended the life of the pusher. The polyblocks were designed to operate as shock absorbers or fuses to flex upon major impact (of an object higher than nine inches) and, like fuses, were designed to break under the kinds of conditions that would almost certainly bend or break the major frame components of a conventional pusher, and that would have included springs, regardless of their size and strength. A loss of a $50 polyblock under such conditions is a lot easier to handle than a multi-thousand-dollar loss of a pusher or an injury to an operator. There are many other unique features
Flexible polyurethane pads provide the sectional with its advanced movement, performance and safety characteristics.
of the Arctic Sectional Sno-Pusher™ that might not be obvious to the untrained eye, but there is one in particular that would come to cement its reputation as the attachment that changed the industry and allowed businesses to grow well beyond their initial limitations. The Arctic Sectional Sno-Pusher™ was a modular product designed to live forever with easy maintenance of bolted-on parts. Unless one drove off a cliff, this pusher would never be junked.
The Arctic Sectional’s modular design make it easy to swap out components and extend its life.
A revolution in asset management and growth When contemplating growing one’s business, ownership knows that it must be able to either invest its own profits or secure financing. Of course, one cannot borrow beyond a bank’s willingness to take on the risk, and a low margin seasonal service business where the weather, luck, and the owner’s personal health determine its success does generally not fit the banker’s idea of a good bet. What he wants to see is a business that has a high margin, low debt, strong assets and protection from catastrophic loss. According to our survey, there were two primary reasons margins improved with the sectional: 1. Improved operating efficiencies; and, 2. Salt savings. In side-by-side competitions, the Arctic Sectional has outperformed standard pushers four-to-one, particularly when you include sidewalks. Assuming that one was able to take on two-to-three times the work of a standard pusher fleet, that extra money would go straight to the bottom line, which certainly influences future purchasing decisions. The other reason, salt savings, is cited just as often. Documented savings of 50 per cent or more is the norm and easily pays for an Arctic Sectional pusher. Many firms seeking outside financing have been able to document their ROI performance and thus pursue their growth objectives with positive results. Strait’s own snow contracting business provided the first example of the
possibilities for massive growth with his Arctic Sectional pusher. Like anyone else, he must buy his pushers from his sister company, Arctic Snow and Ice Products, Inc. and justify his purchases with his bank. He has grown from a small-to-medium snow contractor barely surviving the low snow years to North America’s largest commercial snow contractor with a fleet of over 450 pieces of construction equipment (that he owns) and a workforce of over 1,200 during the peak season. He has also provided evidence of reduced slip and fall claims due to the effectiveness of the pusher and has reduced his insurance premiums as a result. In the last 10 years, small-to-medium landscapers have been able to grow substantial snow businesses with construction machines and Arctic Sectional snow pushers. We spoke to firms that had grown from just a few to anywhere from 70 to 300 machines (purchased, rented, or a combination of both) using Arctic Sectionals. They are enjoying excellent relationships with their banks and they are seeing their assets paid off at accelerated rates. Furthermore, they were able to eliminate aging as an issue since the Arctic Sectionals can be maintained indefinitely. To this day, nearly every Arctic Sectional pusher ever produced is still operating, and the future for companies who wish to grow their snow business with construction equipment and Arctic Sectional SnoPushers™ is bright. Olivia Roy is a bilingual freelance writer for U.S. and Canadian business clients. ■
Wendy Koslowski, a 10-year veteran of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, plows highways and roads in the province.
When Wendy Koslowski grips the steering wheel a little harder, you can understand why. As a 10-year veteran of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, she has seen a lot while driving a snowplow for the past decade. Her job often has her out in the wee hours of the morning and into the dark night skies in less than ideal weather conditions. It means time away from her family and missed occasions like birthdays, activities, and holidays. Koslowski is not seeking sympathy, though. In fact, she’s dedicated to her work because she believes in it and wants to ensure people are safe. “I’ll risk it because it’s my family out on that highway. My friends out on that highway. I like to see them go home safe,” she said. No doubt, Koslowski’s family worries about her, particularly during the cold, dark winter when she’s on the road. “They worry about the traffic, and if someone isn’t paying attention or if my truck will get hit,” Koslowski said. Koslowski says her family believes in her and the good she is doing. When she has a bad day, the thing that brings her back to earth is her youngest daughter’s hug. So what happens if you get injured at work and you can’t do the one thing you want most? Each year, there are about five snowplow hits in Saskatchewan.
Drive safely around snowplows and while she used to play roughly with her kids, she simply cannot skip and dance with them anymore. Before the incident, her daughter used to ask “how was your day mom?” But now, she asks “did anything bad happen today?” A little girl shouldn’t have to think about things like that. For now, Koslowski’s priority is bringing awareness to highway safety. “It opened my eyes even more when it happened to me,” she said. “It’s important for other people to be safe and know what’s going on out there.” That’s why she has chosen to share her story. “If you do have to pass a snowplow, pass with care.” Treat snowplows the same as you would any emergency vehicle. If they are pulled over and have their blue light flashing, slow to 60 km/h and pass with caution. If you are following a plow and their blue light is flashing, pass them when safe to do so. Snowplows do pull over every 10 to 15 kilometres to let vehicles pass. The blue lights are on whenever the plow is engaged in winter activity. This can include surveillance, sanding, salting, and plowing. Be sure to check out the Highway Hotline before you start your travel. There you’ll find all the up-to-date information you need to get where you’re going, safely. “Slow down, it’s not a race,” Koslowski said. ■
In early 2019, Koslowski was plowing roads on Highway 11, just south of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan when a car smacked into the plow she was operating from behind. She hit her face against the steering wheel and suffered neck and shoulder injuries. An incident lasting a fraction of a second would make an impact for months. She admits she can’t do her job like she used to and often needs help from her crew. “If it wasn’t for them, I likely wouldn’t be with the ministry anymore,” she said. Koslowski has problems moving her shoulder and neck, and struggles to do many of the things she used to. It’s not just her work life that has been impacted, it’s her home life too. Helping her husband on the farm has become a challenge, SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
Before the incident that injured Kowlowski’s neck and shoulders, her daughter used to ask “how was your day mom?” But now, she asks “did anything bad happen today?”
Many de-icer products, although they make sidewalks, driveways, and walkways safe, are harmful to the environment.
Hardscape-friendly de-icers for asphalt, brick, and concrete
n order to prevent anyone from being injured by slipping and falling on your sidewalks, some form of de-icer and/ or ice melt is essential. There are many types available.
Some are completely natural and found in your home; others are commercial products readily available online and at hardware stores and other retailers. However, many
environment. This can damage concrete sidewalks and it creates visible pockmarks. If rock salt is not a good option, then what is? There are at least three other materials used in producing ice melts. They all have different effects on your hardscape.
products, although they make sidewalks, driveways, and
1. Calcium chloride: This ice melt is available in pellet
walkways safe, are harmful to the environment. Not only
forms. It is white and may cause irritation if it comes
does this include animals and the living landscape, but also
into contact with human skin and animal paws. One
a home’s hardscape – the asphalt, brick, and concrete of the
of the main benefits is that it is highly effective at very
low temperatures (-50 degrees F). However, it can be damaging to landscapes and hardscapes. But don’t worry
The truth about ice melts and other de-icers The primary ingredient to melt ice is salt. The issue with salt is that it can be damaging to concrete. Sodium chloride, or rock salt, is the classic choice for de-icing. The reason
– it is less harmful than rock salt. The harmful effects of calcium chloride can be decreased if it is used in lower concentrations and less frequently. If you want to apply it to concrete or asphalt, do so in moderation. 2. Potassium chloride: This ice melt does not irritate the
people like it is because of the speed with which it works
skin. Yet, while it does not damage soft scape, it can be
and its cost since rock salt is very affordable. This is the
hard on concrete. It also has other drawbacks. It is only
main factor as to why it has been used by public and private
effective at temperatures above 15 degrees F. It can also
snow removal services for decades.
be an expensive choice.
However, rock salt can also be harmful to the environment
3. M agnesium chloride: This is one of the latest de-icers/
as it can pollute lakes and rivers. It also harms plant life,
ice melts. It is an effective ice melt at -13 degrees F.
therefore damaging your soft landscape. In addition, rock
Magnesium chloride also releases significantly less into
salt releases the highest percentage of chloride into the
the environment then either sodium chloride or calcium
ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
The primary ingredient to melt ice is salt and the issue with it is that it can be damaging to concrete.
chloride. What is also behind its increase in popularity is it exhibits less harm to plants.
When considering ice melts and deicers, always look at the ingredients.
have to spend time later making repairs on or replacing a driveway, sidewalk, steps, or walkways?
4. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA): Of all the commercial ice melt products available on the market, this one has the least environmental impact. This applies to both soft and hardscape. CMA also has the capability of keeping ice from forming longer than other products.
Always consider the impact the product you plan to use
When considering ice melts and deicers, always look at the ingredients. They tell you how much of the above materials are included in the contents. Remember that while magnesium chloride may be the better option, it is still not without its issues. To decrease the effects of ice melts, to prevent flaking and scaling of the masonry, and pockmarks on the driveway or sidewalks, use sparingly.
Use a third-party service such as the Edenapp through the
has on the surroundings. Follow instructions on the label. Dilute its negative effects by combining it with sand. A half-and-half solution can be very effective. If this seems too complicated, you can always leave it to the pros to handle. Apple or Android app store, or find us at edenapp.com and hire an ice and snow removal agency, one that can de-ice your hardscape without harming it or any other part of the environment. â–
Making the right choice When it comes time to choose the right ice melt for the task, do not emphasize price. While rock salt is the cheapest de-icer available, it is the most harmful to plants, animals, concrete, and asphalt. It is important to consider such factors as environmental impacts. This includes your hardscape. Does it seem reasonable to use a cheaper product only to
Quality, Durability, Performance
Rock salt can also be harmful to the environment as it can pollute lakes and rivers. It also harms plant life, therefore damaging your soft landscape.
SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
Skid steers are not only more maneuverable than a truck to clean around islands and light poles, but skid steers are also more efficient.
The case for equipment over trucks in snow removal applications
Snow removal contractors continue to add construction equipment – largely skid steers and wheel loaders – to do the work once dedicated to pickup trucks with plows. Is it time for you to do away with the old pickup and plow? By Andrew Dargatz, brand marketing manager, CASE Construction Equipment
he snow removal industry is becoming more competitive each year. As that happens, the margin of error between profitability and survival is slim.
For large commercial snow removal contractors, the shift from trucks and plows to construction equipment – skid steers, compact track loaders, wheel loaders, compact wheel loaders, and backhoes – provides significant operational advantages. Is it time for you to add more equipment and give the pickup
strategically parked pieces of equipment that allow them to plow one or more accounts with that machine? This provides a number of advantages: • Plowing begins sooner = faster responsiveness = greater customer satisfaction. • T he employee “clocks in” when he gets to the lot with the machine. Their time is now 100 per cent billable, and labour costs are not wasted driving from account to account.
and plow a rest? Here are eight reasons to consider adding more iron to your snow removal fleet:
2. Labour efficiency While every lot is different, construction equipment presents the opportunity for a higher percentage of productive work
When it snows, does it make more sense to have your
to take place. Trucks are only removing snow when moving
employees try to manage a route, and fight road conditions
forward. Too much time is wasted with trucks having to go
and traffic to service your customers, or to drive to
in reverse. Skid steers are not only more maneuverable
ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
The most common machines in snow removal applications range from 74 to 110 horsepower.
than a truck to clean around islands and light poles, but
• A piece of equipment and an operator dedicated to one or
skid steers are also more efficient. They can push one way,
two lots make it more manageable to keep the lot cleared
spin around and push the other way. Add in the advantages
during a snow fall. Managing several accounts throughout
provided by attachments, such as a sectional snow pusher,
a route increases the chances for snow accumulation and
which removes more snow on the first pass than fixed
slip and falls.
blades or pushes, and these machines also help remove snow in fewer total passes.
3. Fuel savings
Along the same lines, construction equipment generally
Pickup trucks feature engines with greater horsepower.
pickup trucks, and better visibility down to the attachment
Why perform a job on a platform that runs at 300 to 400
that’s performing the work.
horsepower when equipment that operates at 74 to 200 horsepower will work just as well? The most common
provides greater visibility to all sides of the machine than
Wheel loaders and compact wheel loaders are taller than
machines in snow removal applications range from 74 to 110
most trucks and provide a better vantage point to people,
cars, and other surrounding objects. The maneuverability of
Also consider the fuel burned when driving from the shop to the lot, from lot to lot, and back to the shop. Head-to-head, construction equipment provides lower total overall fuel costs.
skid steers and compact track loaders minimize the need to operate in reverse.
7. Attachment flexibility Thanks to auxiliary hydraulics, quick couplers, and
4. Wear and tear In addition to fuel savings, there’s also less wear and tear caused by a lower-horsepower engine and its components than that of a higher-horsepower pickup truck. This helps improve uptime and long-term reliability.
(generally) universal mounting designs, construction equipment provides greater flexibility for switching between and using different types of attachments, from pushes to snow blowers and sweepers.
8. Dealer support
Through telematics and planned maintenance programs,
Minimizing liability is all about reducing exposure.
construction equipment dealers can maintain consistent
Construction equipment parked at accounts does this in a
visibility to the performance and health of the equipment,
couple of ways.
and proactively address maintenance needs before they
• Your employees are not driving company-owned trucks
turn into larger issues.
on snow-covered and icy roads. This minimizes the
Each application and company is different, but these eight
chances of accidents and the corresponding liability to
points can lead to reduced operating costs and greater
customer satisfaction. ■
SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
Compatible with full-size pickups, flatbed trucks or dump-bed trucks, the HELIXX stainless-steel hopper lineup includes five different models.
SnowEx HELIXX™ stainless-steel hopper spreaders feature revolutionary material delivery system ®
apitalizing on decades of expertise with its industry-leading poly spreaders, SnowEx® introduces its new HELIXX™ stainless-steel
hopper spreaders. In addition to the proven durability and corrosion-resistant benefits of stainless steel, the spreaders feature the revolutionary HELIXX material delivery system, an innovative design that helps optimize material flow. Furthermore, by adding a pre-wet and direct liquid application kit, the HELIXX becomes a triple threat – with the ability to spread, prewet, and spray with one machine. The corkscrew, or “helix”, design of the HELIXX material delivery system is optimized for efficient and cost-effective use of salt, and it was designed to operate in the target range for salt-spreading best practices. The HELIXX runs the entire length of the hopper with variable flights, promoting even unloading of material. With the addition of a pre-wet and direct liquid
ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
Compatible with full-size pickups, flatbed trucks or dump-bed trucks, the HELIXX stainless-steel hopper lineup includes five different models, including capacities of 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.5 and 6.0 cubic yards.
application kit, which includes pre-wet tanks, a pump and a spray kit, the spreaders have the ability to prewet materials or spray brine directly onto the driving surface for anti-icing applications. All functions are easily controlled from the in-cab control. Compatible with full-size pickups, flatbed trucks or dumpbed trucks, the HELIXX stainless-steel hopper lineup includes five different models, including capacities of 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.5 and 6.0 cubic yards. Both the hopper and frame are constructed of corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
inches off the ground, regardless of vehicle type. A dual variable-speed control allows independent adjustment of spinner and HELIXX speeds for precise material delivery, whether at low or high output. It also features no-blast startup, auto reverse, and it integrates with accessories for simple plug-and-play operation. Additional standard features include an inverted V, vibrator, accessory hub, dump switches, flip-up/removable chute, fork pockets, and a top screen. Other available
The frame boasts a unique leg and sill design to form a
accessories include steel hopper covers, spill guards,
ridged backbone structure for greater longevity.
chute extension kits (1.5 and 2.0 cubic yard models), work
The unique cab forward hopper design delivers better payload distribution to reduce stress on the truck. The HELIXX extends beyond the hopper and into the patented
light kits (primary and auxiliary), strobe light kit, chain kit, ratchet strap kit, truck mount kits, and hopper side and vehicle side harness kits.
pre-wet mixing chamber to help prevent leaking/spilling
SnowEx Snow and Ice Control Equipment is proud to be
during transport while providing an ideal location for pre-
a part of Douglas Dynamics, North America’s premier
manufacturer of vehicle attachments and equipment, and
Baffles within the chute direct material to key areas on
home to the most trusted brands in the industry. For more
the spinner resulting in a remarkably even and consistent
than 70 years, the company has been innovating products
spread pattern, as well as reducing material directed back
that not only enable people to perform their jobs more
at the vehicle. Three spinner height adjustments (standard
efficiently and effectively, but also enable businesses to
on the 3.0, 4.5 and 6.0 cubic yard models) allow the
increase profitability. For more information, visit
spreaders to achieve a consistent spinner height of 18 to 22
The corkscrew, or “helix”, design of the HELIXX material delivery system is optimized for efficient and cost-effective use of salt, and it was designed to operate in the target range for salt-spreading best practices.
SNOW MANAGER | www.snowmanager.ca
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Arctic Snow & Ice................................................................ OFC Artix............................................................................................. 6 Calhoun Super Structure......................................................... 7 Equifab................................................................................. OBC Horst Welding........................................................................ IFC John Deere.............................................................................. IBC Krown.......................................................................................... 3 MacLean Engineering & Marketing Co. Ltd......................... 9 Snow Wheel System Inc........................................................... 5 Vohl Inc......................................................................................21
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ISSUE 1 – 2020 | SNOW MANAGER
The ultimate mini snow machine. The factory-installed, heated 2R Cab. The 360 view inside out. The flashing work lights to keep safe. The comfort of the command chair. This heated cab knows no peer in this size and power of tractor (25 HP* 18.6kW). Add an optional snow blower, or a snow plow blade or a spreader for salt to keep streets or paths clear of snow and ice. Come build your own ultimate mini snow machine at John Deere.ca/2Series Nothing Runs like a Deere™ | Run With Us
* The engine horsepower and torque information for non-Deere engines are provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. Actual operating horsepower and torque will be less. Refer to the engine manufacturer’s web site for additional information. Shown with optional features. John Deere, the leaping deer symbol and John Deere’s green and yellow trade dress are the trademarks of Deere and Company.
1755 rue Janelle Drummondville, QC