As the 2012-2013 snow season begins to wind down, you may be looking to improve your snow and ice management process for next year. To help you do that, the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) has published its first version of the SIMA's Best Practices Checklist for Managing Snow & Ice. This checklist provides a standard method of benchmarking your snow and ice management plans. 
The best practices checklist is broken into seven sections:
• Environmental health, safety and risk management.
In this first step to a solid snow and ice removal plan, be sure to verify insurance liability coverage, making sure that any outsourced services have a policy that includes a "snow rider." A basic site engineering plan needs to include items such as safe snow stacking, steps to prevent melting/refreezing, a safety and training program, a parking lot and sidewalk clearing process, and knowledge of salt's impact on the area around the facility.
• Estimating, planning and cost-effectiveness.
This step includes shoring up a snow site engineering plan and verifying a provider’s estimating process. Finally, it entails understanding the capacity needed to consistently clear the site from ice and snow, especially during major or drastic winter events.
• Execution and responsiveness.
Are you really prepared for the snow removal season? Do you have the proper resources allocated related to the timing of snow removal and identifying key areas that need to be serviced first? Do you have a two-week inventory of a product that helps control ice? Remember, you need a variety of ice removal products due to different products working in varying temperatures. You also want to consider planned reserve equipment and estimating your labor needs for snow and ice removal in your facility.
• Quality of service.
In this step, your process or provider should identify priority snow removal areas such as handicap zones and fire hydrants. You need to use a systematic site inspection process, and ensure that you have one person managing your snow removal process onsite for consistent results.
• Communication, documentation and verification.
In this step, you document your snow removal process using a site visit or work completion logs. It's helpful to use technology to help track your snow removal process such as an electronic reporting system. Developing a communications system such as a phone tree, electronic notification, etc. also helps get the word out about the condition of your facility during a snow event.

• Certification/standards and education.
To ensure that those managing your snow removal process are up to date on the newest information, we suggest you offer training and educational opportunities.
• Expertise and professionalism.
SIMA suggests that the manager/foreman assigned to manage your snow and ice removal process has five or more years of field experience and the staff assigned to perform work on your site has two or more years of field experience as a best practice.
Following these tips will help ensure that your snow removal process planning goes smoothly for the next snow season.