Winter has arrived so be sure to protect your staff, your customers, and your reputation

You can’t fail to ignore the fact that autumn is now slipping rapidly into winter. And if you have read some of the recent headlines , we could be set for some pretty cold weather ahead.

If you or your company own, rent or manage a property do you know what your obligations are in respect of dealing with winter weather? Are you aware of what could happen if someone slipped and fell on your premises?

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone affected by their work, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to control slips and trip risks – see http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/faq.htm#icy-conditions.

Of course measuring the level of risk, deciding on a winter maintenance policy your company is comfortable with, and executing it can be tricky. If the actions you take aren’t deemed sufficient, then you could be leaving yourself open to a potential claim.

We make it our business to derisk your assets and to find the right solution for you. If thinking about what you should be doing this winter sends a shiver down your spine, then drop us a line – we are here to help.

DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT…

Over the years, we have worked with some high profile organisations – to ensure their businesses remain operational and safe during the winter months. Here’s what Chris Davies, the General Manager: Estates Technical Services Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Estates, had to say about the work that De-ice undertakes for Huddersfield Royal Infirmary:

“The site’s position and location mean that the hospital is quote exposed, and we often experience dreadful weather. It isn’t unusual for the site to become very icy, and – in the past – we have had vast amounts of snow.

“Access and egress to the site for the blue light services is paramount. And we need to ensure that pathways are cleared for patients, staff and visitors. When it comes to winter gritting, cutting corners is just not an option.

“De-ice has done a superb job so far. We really value the weather alerts that come through, so we know when service will take place and – equally – the audit trail is invaluable. And the grit that De-ice is using seems to work extremely we

FM CONSIDERATIONS

We cannot take the weather for granted; the UK is impacted increasingly by extreme adverse weather events – all year round. Here are a few pointers when it comes to ensuring effective risk management when it comes to the unpredictable UK weather:

  • Have a disaster recovery plan in place This could make all the difference and give you a head start in the recovery process – helping to get back to business, as quickly as possible.
  • Talk to your people – Consider your customer and staff needs at all times. Your employees are your greatest asset and ensuring their safety and well-being is paramount. Keep in regular communication with them about the impact of severe weather and how you are managing this.Have a disaster recovery plan in place This could make all the difference and give you a head start in the recovery process – helping to get back to business, as quickly as possible.
  • Be ahead of the game – Keep an eye on temperatures and the forecast. Gritting should be carried out when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best time is before the frost settles. Salt doesnt work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the ground.
  • Finally – have a plan for everything The extreme weather over the past few years shows the importance of having a plan for every type of natural disaster, from droughts, flooding to blizzards. Make sure you’ve got yours in place. After that, you need to communicate it to the relevant people.

TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY, WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!