In the UK, heavy snow and prolonged cold snaps are relatively rare but, as a result, when it does happen, we tend to find ourselves unprepared and exposed to the damage of the elements.
Snow and ice can wreak havoc on pavements, car parks and other areas surrounding your facility. When this happens, businesses need to be prepared and take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries and accidents which might arise due to adverse winter weather conditions.
According to the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
“Arrangements should be made to minimise risks from snow and ice. This may involve gritting, snow clearing and closure of some routes, particularly outside stairs, ladders and walkways on roofs.”
The following article provides some suggestions for ways to minimise the risks from snow and ice to keep your facility and staff safe this Winter.
Prevention is key
To reduce the risk of slips on ice, frost or snow, you need to assess the risk and put in a system to manage it. In your risk assessment you should identify areas that are most likely to be affected such as:
- Places which are frequently in the shade and/or wet
- Building entrances
- Walkways and pavements
- Car parks
- Sloped areas
Monitor the weather
You need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. Keep up to date by checking the met office.
Have a good supply of winter essentials
What to do when cold weather hits
- Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface;
- Use grit salt on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions;
- Consider covering walkways eg by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or use an insulating material on smaller areas overnight;
- Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones.