Good practice guide to winter maintenance in the UK

According to a joint study by climate experts from the Met Office and scientists from the University of Sheffield, winters in the UK are set to become more unpredictable due to extreme variations in atmospheric circulation patterns over the North Atlantic.

Along with greater disruption for businesses, this also means a stronger possibility of accidents and injuries on company property, which could have serious and significant repercussions.

For this reason, De-Ice has come up with the follow good practice guide to winter maintenance in the UK.

The essential elements of a winter maintenance plan

In April 2015, almost a quarter of facilities managers said they did not have a winter maintenance plan in place, even though this can help any businesses:

  • Meet their Duty of Care as outlined in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • Achieve compliance for workplace temperatures, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, and other regulations
  • Manage risk by carrying out assessments, implementing necessary measures, appointing competent people, and organising relevant training
  • Meet insurer’s expectations to ensure the property is protected against and that any claims can be processed correctly
  • Achieve business continuity for ongoing prosperity and profitability in the future

Despite the fact most winter maintenance plans will be extremely comprehensive, some essential elements are:

  • Proposals recommended by a recognised health and safety management system such as OHSAS1800115.
  • The appointment of a senior ‘champion’ to establish importance within the organisation and a high level buy-in
  • A list of in-depth objectives and responsibilities
  • Detailed and bespoke site surveys and specifications within identified hazardous areas
  • A plan based on real-time accurate weather data and agreed action triggers for services
  • Documentation of the proactive winter management plan and service activity, which should include full investigations into accidents
  • The allocation of adequate resources, including trained team members as well as sufficient and well-maintained PPE
  • The assignment of specific tasks to individual team members
  • Clear communication of the plan so that everyone from staff to visitors are aware of specific responsibilities
  • A record showing the plan has been delivered, which should be kept for a minimum of three years
  • Measurement of performance against clearly defined KPIs
  • A review of plans and policies on a regular basis
  • The ability to share winter maintenance plans with the company’s insurer

For more help with devising a winter maintenance plan for your business, contact De-Ice today.