The New Hampshire Certified Green SnowPro Program
Providing Liability Protection to Snow Management Companies and their Clients
Nearly a decade ago, during the inception of the Interstate 93 (I-93) widening project in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) conducted an environmental impact study which identified four watersheds as having elevated levels of chloride. The elevated levels were high enough to be harmful to aquatic life and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) calculated that a salt-use reduction of 25-45 percent was needed to meet water quality standards and that up to 50 percent of the salt load was coming from parking lots, driveways, and private roads.
In order to gain a better understanding of the snow and ice management industry and how salt is used, NHDES formed the I-93 Salt Reduction Work Group consisting of state, municipal, and private sector representatives who perform winter maintenance activities within the impaired watersheds. NHDES quickly learned that private companies were applying excessive amounts of salt to help reduce their potential exposure to liability in slip and fall lawsuits.
Hearing the liability concerns of these private companies, NHDES began working on legislation which would provide liability protection for these salt application companies and mitigate the risk of applying less salt. Legislation was enacted in 2013 which mirrors the liability protections provided to ski areas, and includes a requirement that, in order to receive the liability protection, individuals must have taken the New Hampshire Certified Green SnowPro training course and received a Certified Salt Applicator certificate. NHDES issues the Certified Salt Applicator certificates granting the liability protection through RSA 508:22, which protects individuals holding the certificate, and those who hire a certified individual, from damages arising from snow and ice conditions.
By reducing liability concerns, the Salt Applicator Certificate has proven valuable to private contractors, their clients, and their insurance carriers. To date, 685 individuals have become Certified Salt Applicators and three certificate holders are currently involved in claims that they plan to deny in court, citing the liability protection granted to them through the certification program. NHDES has been tracking these cases and their outcomes. NHDES recently learned that one of the three claims was dropped when the liability protection was cited.
An effort to foster collaboration and professionalism within the New Hampshire snow and ice management industry was initiated when NHDES, the University of New Hampshire, and the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) partnered to host the first annual New Hampshire Salt Symposium in the fall of 2014. The inaugural Salt Symposium was a successful event attended by over 110 snow and ice management professionals, vendors, and industry experts. The third annual Salt Symposium will be held this September 13th and will feature expert speakers on salt use reduction strategies, innovative technologies within the snow and ice management industry, equipment safety and compliance, airport snow and ice management practices, and a ten year retrospective on New Hampshire winter weather patterns. The NH Salt Symposium counts as continuing education and is a way to keep snow and ice management contractors up to date on snow and ice management industry best management practices.
The New Hampshire Certified Green SnowPro Program is a first-in-the-nation certification program that is helping to substantially reduce wintertime road salt applications, improve water quality, and provide valuable liability protection to local New Hampshire companies.
For more information, visit: http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/was/salt-reduction-initiative/index.htm
For upcoming training dates, visit: http://t2.unh.edu/greensnowpro-training-and-certification
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