Plowing Companies Scramble To Prevent Liability Claims Amid Road Salt Shortage
DEARBORN (WWJ) – The ongoing road salt shortage in metro Detroit is creating a new worry for local businesses — lawsuits.
Al Hunt, who owns Al’s Snow Removal in Dearborn, told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill he ordered $20,000 worth of salt for the season but his supply is nearly gone, and it probably won’t be replenished.
“I have enough salt on board for one more application for everybody and then if the salt’s not available to me, I can’t salt them,” he said.
Hunt said his supplier has told him that they can’t get any more salt, which means there’s really nothing he can do. So, Hunt is telling to his 40 clients, which include doctor’s offices and hair salons, to post public notices about the salt shortage.
“I’ve talked to my liability insurance and they’ve indicated that my customers should post a letter on their doorways, explaining to people that in the parking lot and entrances, slippery conditions exist but salt is not available to them,” he said.
So far, Hunt said most of his customers understand the situation, but some are worried about possibly being sued.
“I’ve heard customers say that they will post a sign but other customers say it sounds like a blanket invitation for somebody to try a slip-and-fall and get a lawsuit out of it,” he said.
Posted signs, according to Hunt’s attorneys, will actually help the businesses ward off any lawsuits, he said.
But even with the salt shortage, Hunt won’t be leaving his clients behind. He said he’s going to do everything he can to help make the rest of the winter as bearable as possible.
“Where we’re used to plowing two inches, and the ones that require salt at the time, I’m going to try to plow it at one inch to try to give them better service. It won’t alleviate the situation, but it will help,” he said. “And then after the weekend, after I’m out of salt, I’m just going to hope for some warmer weather.”