Introduction to Falls Snow Removal Equipment

The process of snow removal may be hazardous duty. Removing the effects of a winter storm in the midst of traffic and physical hazards is a job that requires highly skilled operators who must be alert to their surroundings and thoroughly familiar with their equipment.

Snow removal equipment, in spite of its rugged appearance, is susceptible to damage. This damage may seriously affect not only its operating efficiency, but also the operating safety of the unit. Daily maintenance or pre-route maintenance is a must. An alert operator sensitive to the condition and operating characteristics of his or her vehicle is most important in order to catch small problems before they manifest themselves as major calamities.

Snow removal equipment, or any equipment, should not be subjected to uses for which it was not designed. Example: Do not use a snow wing as a ditch cleaner or a snowplow as an ice scraper.
  a.) Snow wing operation is designed to assist the snowplow in moving loose snow from the shoulder of a roadway or to provide additional first pass clearing where conditions permit.
  b.) Snowplow operation is designed for wet or dry snow conditions. The Falls SnowPlow may be tilted forward for a harder scraping action to assist in the removal of compacted snow.

Extreme Caution should be used when attempting removal of compacted snow. The inconsistency of material and the pressure on the cutting edge may cause the prime mover vehicle to move suddenly in an unexpected direction. Physical hazards must be avoided. Obstructions such as curbs, manholes, fire hydrants, bridges, concrete pillars, and frozen piles of snow and ice may cause damage to a snow plow or snow wing. Tripping devices and shear pins are designed to minimize the damages, not to prevent them.

The question about safe operating speeds requires a lot of input:

What type of road surface is being plowed?

How many lanes of traffic?

What time of day?

What is the weather condition?

What is the present condition of the road? Icy? Snow-packed?

How much traffic is present?

What is the moisture content of the snow?

What type of vehicle is being used as the prime mover? Motor grader? Front end loader? Single axle truck? Tandem axle truck?

What is the experience of the operator?

What has been the historical practice?

What is the policy of the governing agency in regard to speed and what is the policy as to how clear the road surface is to be plowed? Bare pavement?

All of these questions must be answered to begin to suggest a safe operating speed. Even if all the data is known and a reasonable operating range is defined, accidents may still occur and the process by which such a range was derived will be questioned.