The Smart About Salt Council (SASC) is grateful to the Government of Ontario for providing funding assistance to help in the development of an appropriate verification program to assist the certification and accreditation efforts of winter maintenance contractors, facility owners/operators and others, to help SASC continue to update our award-winning education programs and to facilitate dialogue between all those that have an interest in safety, winter maintenance practices and the environment.
1. Retaining a Consultant
Using tested and preferred procurement practices a request for proposals (RFP) document was crafted and distributed using MERX: Canada's electronic tendering service. As a result, the services of WSP Canada Group was retained. WSP Global Inc. is a Canadian business providing management and consultancy services to the built and natural environment. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:WSP).
2. Jurisdictional Scan
A jurisdictional scan was conducted through a combination of an Internet search, LISTSERV query, and telephone interviews. The intent was to locate programs similar to SASC and investigate their verification and auditing methods. The search was limited to North America to maintain a relevance in regards to snow and ice conditions, road and parking lot infrastructure, and legislative culture. For this reason, programs in Europe were not included.
The internet search was conducted by referencing known portals of winter maintenance information, such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The search was then widened to include commercial pages, program websites, and government databases. The focus was on finding and investigating road salt application certification projects and their training, verification, and accreditation processes. Materials consulted included academic papers, training presentation documents, news articles, and web pages. LISTSERV is a software application which distributes messages to subscribers on an electronic mailing list. For this project, a query was posed on the SNOW-ICE list serve which focuses on communication between winter maintenance professionals. The responses were considered through the context of the scope and intent of the project and were investigated accordingly. From the above, organizational representatives were identified and telephoned to provide clarity/expand on their online information.
The results of the jurisdictional scan are shared here: WSP Verification Protocol Development Task 1 Jurisdictional Review DRAFT 29MAY18.pdf
3. A Framework for Program Verification
Working with professional consultants, a verification program has been drafted and a discussion document shared broadly with winter maintenance industry stakeholders. The verification protocol was grounded in by the knowledge obtained through the completion of the jurisdictional scan and considered:
i. Existing SASC training and certification programs;
ii. The resource limitations of winter maintenance contractors and others;
iii. General safety requirements;
iv. Leading practices that might address liability concerns and other issues;
v. Procedures necessary to verify the use of SASC training;
vi. The need for reporting;
vii. Performance metrics program verification such as: Calibration, pre-wetting, the percentage of employees that are trained in leading practices in winter maintenance, the percentage of supervisors that are trained in leading practices in winter maintenance, the percentage of automatic controllers being used, the use of advanced snow plow blades and equipment, the use in winter maintenance operations of temperature sensing equipment, sand and direct liquid application, the use of low or non-salt products, the challenges resulting from significant winter storm events, the actual amounts of de-icing products used with emphasis on salt products (chlorides), use of shared liability contracts, etc.; and,
viii. Defined reporting requirements and how they are to be recorded. Consideration has been given to the number and frequency of complaints, the number and frequency of audits, the findings against leading practices, teachings, and certification standards of the SASC.
4. Summary of Findings
The Final Report in both English and French is provided below: