Monthly Archives: December 2014

Break A Leg

Did you know that the etymology of this phrase is part of old actors’ superstition? The best possible luck is wished as its worst possible opposite. What could be worse than to bust a femur before going on stage?
It is the icy season and slips and falls lurk everywhere. How’s that for an orthopedically oriented segue? What’s your plan for slips and falls? Try not to… I know. More correctly, what does your community have in place for this?
You don’t have to have an official policy or multi-page plan. But your Association should be treating ice in a conscious manner. Better a proactive and deliberate approach than a reactive, haphazard one. In other words, you’ve thought this through ahead of time and have certain steps you take when certain winter conditions manifest.
Here’s a free example. We manage a property on Ramsey Hill in St. Paul (the steepest hill in Ramsey County). The property has myriad sets of stairs and a public sidewalk with a very steep incline. The snow crew does its job according to contract in the back parking lot and rear entrances but the front sidewalk and steps are cleared and salted immediately after the snow ceases. In the event of a heavy snow, this occurs on an ongoing basis.
When insurance companies call about a slip and fall on Association property, the example above is the sort of thing which sets the tone. The Association’s insurer breathes a sigh of relief and the victim’s insurer’s standing to pursue the Association with a claim can diminish. Board members do themselves a favor by delegating to management the task of ice control—of course with a certain dollar cap.
Obviously not every accident (or claim) can be avoided. This is about risk management, not abatement. To mangle an old cliché: if you fail to plan you plan to fall.
Tread carefully out there, please. This comes from a guy who busted one side of his ribs in a slip and fall four years ago. Two years later, same thing other side. I’d like to think that I am particularly sensitive to ice management issues.