As winter approaches councils throughout the UK , prepare their salting and gritting plans in readiness for temperatures to drop and the onset of adverse weather. According to law every council in the UK has an obligation to ensure that safe passage on a public highway, that is not endangered by snow and ice. And to ensure that any delays caused by adverse weather conditions are kept to a minimum.
Councils work to meet the requirements of this legislation by ensuring that roads within their jurisdiction are treated with rock salt. They also provide grit bins throughout their boroughs so the public have access to rock salt stocks, often placing them in strategic positions along roads and in public places.
The weather in the UK is unpredictable and our councils provide an exceptional service when conditions are challenging. Each council issues a Winter Services Policy detailing their plans and preparations. However, with the introduction of new legislation referring to the winter safety obligations of private companies, the demand for winter products has therefore increased.
What Businesses need to know and how we can help
Private companies have a legal obligation to ensure that the areas around their premises are kept safe and as clear from snow and ice as possible. Ensuring car parks, pavements, paths and entrances to buildings are kept clear.
It is essential that a company has a winter policy and gritting schedule in place to ensure that work is carried out when the weather dictates. Because any personal accidents that happen during snow and icy conditions on company premises can leave a business liable to a legal personal injury claim’s .
Health and Safety regulations advise that under no circumstances must unqualified or ill equipped individuals or businesses take it upon themselves to clear snow and ice from public roads and highways. This creates an added risk of accidents and other problems that could occur as a consequence, which can lead to legal claims for any injury caused.
All companies should ensure that grit bins are placed in strategic positions on their premises. The size and number of bins and their location will be determined by the size of the premises and the features in the area around the outside of the building. Therefore, it is advisable for companies with larger premises that experience a high volume of foot and vehicle traffic, to carry out a risk assessment to determine these factors.
At Hedera we have a wide selection of products available to help companies keep the areas around their premises well maintained and safe during the winter months. Each grit bin will be fully stocked with rock salt. We stock various types of rock salt and de-icers, from conventional brown rock salt, commonly known as grit, to white rock salt and liquid de-icers.
Brown rock salt or grit is the most popular kind of salt used for treating snow and ice. White rock salt is of superior quality as it leaves no residue after melting, ensuring that foot traffic in and out of buildings is residue free and will not cause damage to any floor coverings.
It is advisable to review your company winter policy – what should you be considering?
The approved code of practice for the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 says: “Arrangements should be made to minimise risks from snow and ice which may involve gritting, snow clearing and closure of some routes, particularly outside stairs, ladders and walkways on roofs.”
Case law has established that a system of controlling the hazards of snow and ice discharges liability if it fulfills best practice; it is not expected to extend to unreasonable lengths. Devoting resources to clearing the most used areas is considered reasonable.
Helpful Tips for Employers
The Health and Safety Executive provides a number of helpful tips for employers faced with ice and snow on their premises.
- Assess the risk of slips on snow and ice and put a system in place to manage it.
- Identify outdoor areas used by pedestrians that are likely to be affected by snow and ice.
- Take action when freezing temperatures are forecast
- Use rock salt to grit traffic routes – the best time to do so is early in the evening and morning
- Put a procedure in place to prevent icy surfaces from forming: using grit
- Cover walkways
- Divert pedestrians via safer routes
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that the surface of every traffic route on their premises, whether that be roads or pavements, is suitable for the purpose for which it is used and does not expose their employees or visitors to the risk of slipping.
This means that an employer must ensure that during the winter months, any forecasts of snow or ice are adhered to, and traffic routes are gritted appropriately. If an employee or visitor slips and falls on snow or ice to which causes an injury, and the employer has failed to grit the route effectively or at all, they could face a costly personal injury claim.
For employees carrying out the gritting, employers must ensure they are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment so that they can carry out the job safely.
Available Services from November to March
We are limiting our geographical servicing area to a ten mile radius of DE12 6DP (Moira, Swadlincote) to ensure an efficient service. Following each inquiry, we arrange a site survey and issue a quotation, this will be on a ‘per visit, pay as you go basis’.
We operate 24/7 with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. If you are happy to proceed, you will be given a dedicated 24 hour “Snowmob” hotline number to our on-call team. The weather conditions are constantly monitored and the service will commence upon the onset of adverse weather predictions, or when you instruct us to be on site.
Salting & Gritting of your premises
- Gritting of your specified areas
- Refilling of 2 bins on hire with salt grit, provided they are accessible
- Transportation of materials
Package 1: Purchase grit bin and optional extras with regular refills
Package 2: Hire Grit bin and accessories and with regular refills
- 1 x 200L capacity grit bin
- 1 x High visibility vest
- 1 x Micro shovel
- 1 x Pair of gloves
- Initial fill of grit free of charge
- Regular refills