Posted on: January 18, 2016 12:38 pm

Alban CAT Snow Plowing

Winter is now upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic region and that means snow, and snow means snow removal. We at Alban CAT want you to be safe while operating equipment to remove snow and put together a series of tips for plowing snow.

Before You Start

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  1. Before operating or servicing your snowplow or equipment, you should become thoroughly familiar with the owner’s manual.
  2. You should make sure the following safety equipment is available: cellular phone or two-way radio, a fire extinguisher, tool kit, tow strap, flashlight, flares, first aid kit, ice scraper, lock deicer, a shovel and a bag of sand or salt.
  3. Dress for the weather, make sure you have warm clothes that include insulated boots, insulated underwear, a warm jacket, hat, gloves and sunglasses to combat snow glare.
  4. You should check your equipment’s tire pressure, engine belts for cracks and tightness, hoses for leaks and fluid levels including the engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, battery, radiator coolant and windshield washer fluid (if applicable).
  5. If your Equipment has headlights, brake lights and turn signals to be sure they are in good working order, and make sure your strobe light is working if you have one. Also, look under the machine for obvious signs of leaking fluid.
  6. You should never run out of fuel, so make sure your fuel tank is full before going out to plow.
  7. Check your equipment attachment to make sure all bolts are tight. Look for cracked welds and hydraulic fluid leaks. Check your snowplow cutting edge. An over-worn cutting edge can result in costly repairs to the blade later.

Good Practices

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  1. Never operate your equipment while transporting it to and from a job site.
  2. If you are moving the equipment on the road without a trailer then position attachments so they do not block headlights or your vision.
  3. If driving equipment on the road, if possible angle or lift your attachment so you don’t catch on curbs or other obstacles.
  4. While plowing, check the temperature gauge often. Overheating the engine can be costly. If the equipment overheats, stop and correct the problem. Stop and adjust blade position to allow more airflow to the radiator or remove built up snow from the radiator.
  5. Before it snows, know your job site, walk around the area you will be plowing to check for obstacles that will become hidden when snow is on the ground. Look for things such as bumper stops and speed bumps, curbs, sidewalk edges, shrubs, water drains, fire hydrants, fences and pipes sticking up from the ground. To prevent damage to the area being plowed as well as to your equipment, mark any obstructions that will be hard to see when there’s snow on the ground.
  6. Always wear a seat belt when operating equipment and never plow with your head out the window.
  7. When moving in reverse, don’t rely on the equipment’s mirrors. Turn around and look where you’re going when ever possible.
  8. When plowing in dirt or gravel, and if your attachment has them, lower the plow shoes. This will raise the blade so you don’t scrape the surface away. When plowing on asphalt or concrete, raise or remove the plow shoes so that you scrape as close to the surface as possible.
  9. When you’re finished plowing, lower the blade to the ground this will also take stress off the hydraulic components.

Plowing Parking Lots

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  1. Make sure you know where the customer wants you to pile the snow.
  2. Use extra caution when plowing next to curbs.
  3. If a significant amount of snow is expected, if you can plow with the storm, rather than letting snow accumulate.
  4. Keep water drains and catch basins clear at all times.
  5. Do not stack snow by the road so as not to block the visibility of vehicles coming or leaving the parking lot.
  6. Use caution when plowing next to parked cars–as the snow can push you into the car.
  7. When pushing snow that is next to a building, push away from the building.
  8. If you are responsible for sidewalks, they should be shoveled first before you start plowing so that the snow can be plowed away.
  9. To start a pass, start the machine in motion. Then drop the blade.
  10. As you come to the end of a pass, lift off from the accelerator while starting to use the brake. At the same time, start to raise the blade to help stack the snow.
  11. Plow areas in front of buildings and overhead doors first. Drive up to the building, drop the blade, and pull the snow away from the building. Then turn your equipment around, back into the cleared area and push the snow to the outer edges of the lot.
  12. Push the snow banks back far enough to accommodate future snowfalls.
  13. After back-dragging snow away from the buildings, it’s time to start plowing the lot. Start by making a pass down the center of the lot, and then push snow in windrows to the outer edges.
  14. If there has been a significant amount of snowfall, push as much bulk off the lot as possible. Then go over it again.
  15. In large lots it may be best to break your plowing down into smaller areas.
  16. Do not pile snow in the middle of the lot. It will be difficult to remove later.
  17. Do not pile snow near handicapped parking areas.
  18. Plow in straight lines whenever possible and push to the outer edges of the lot. Keep the wind direction in mind–and pile snow downwind to minimize drifting later.
  19. Plow snow during low-traffic hours and always be cautious of cars and people in the lot.
  20. Once the majority of the snow is removed from the lot, it’s time to do the cleanup work. Start by plowing next to curbs. Be sure to square off corners where possible, and don’t leave trails of snow behind.

Plowing Driveways

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  1. Make sure you know where your customer wants you to pile the snow.
  2. Drive up to the garage; drop the blade; then back up–pulling the snow approximately two car lengths back. Turn the equipment around and back into the cleaned area.
  3. Push the snow to the end of the driveway.
  4. Finish by pushing the snow into the corners at the end of the driveway.
  5. Be careful to not leave snow on the road or on sidewalks.

Dealing With Snow Types

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Deep Snow

  1. In deep snow raise the plow several inches off the ground to shear off the top layer.
  2. You should push just enough snow with each pass to get the job done efficiently without overloading your equipment.
  3. A good rule of thumb is to use a full blade width for two inches of snow or less, three quarters of the blade for four inches of snow and a half blade for six inches of snow or more.

Wet Snow

  1. The best advice is this: Once you start, finish the job. Wet snow left on the sides of your job site overnight can freeze and turn into an ice rink by morning.

What Not To Do

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  1. Never pile snow on someone else’s property.
  2. Never pile snow on a street or on sidewalks.
  3. Never pile snow on top of any structure.
  4. Never pile snow by mailboxes, dumpsters, water drains, catch basins, electrical boxes or fire hydrants.
  5. Never push snow across a road without first checking the local regulations. In many areas it is illegal to push snow across a road.
  6. If it is allowed, push the snow far enough back to allow for upcoming snowfalls–being sure to not leave snow on the road.

We hope these general tips for pushing snow help you with a successful and safe snow season, be careful out there.

Alban CAT Snow Push BoxesAttachments

CAT® Work Tools and Allied Equipment Attachments have several tools that can help you quickly and easily remove snow from your job site, including plows and straight push boxes to supplement your standard bucket.

Snow Work Tool Attachments

CAT® Work Tools

Allied Equipment Attachments 

Alban CAT Multi-Terrain Loader snow plowing

Residential Construction Equipment

CAT® Compact Construction Equipment (CCE) and Building Construction Products (BCP) like Skid Steers, Backhoes or Compact Wheel Loaders are perfect sized machines to help you push snow.

Take a look at the range of Residential Construction Equipment at Alban CAT available to rent or buy.

Residential Construction Equipment 

Rental Equipment

Contact an Alban CAT Equipment Representative to discuss your equipment needs at 888.492.6337 or use the contact form here.

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