There are a number of reasons why slip and trip accidents as well as road traffic collisions increase during the winter: there is less daylight, slippery leaves fall onto the pavement, and freezing temperatures cause snow and ice to form on the roads.
It is easy for the dreaded black-ice to form during inclement weather conditions so you must make sure that you are prepared for such eventualities!
As a result of these dangers, local councils do everything they can to protect the general public and keep both motorists and pedestrians free from harm. However, businesses also have a legal duty of care to ensure health and safety for employees at wintertime.
Clearing ice and snow at work
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it has been suggested that by failing to clear ice and snow sufficiently, businesses could be at risk of a personal injury compensation claim. Even so, this doesn’t mean to say you can simply ignore the weather conditions for fear of being sued.
“On business premises, there is a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of those using your land,” notes RoSPA. “In public areas (e.g. the pavement outside a shop/business/service), we would hope that shopkeepers/service providers etc. would show public spirit and a wish to make access to their premises easier by clearing snow and ice.”
By doing so, employees are less likely to suffer from an accident and subsequent injury. What’s more, customers will hold your business in high esteem and make the effort to visit in spite of adverse weather. But when it comes to clearing ice and snow, RoSPA has the following advice:
You must not make conditions worse – Pouring boiling water over ice is not an option, as this will simply create a more slippery surface
You must do a good job and keep on top of the weather – Reacting to changing conditions is crucial, as you will probably have to tackle problematic areas more than once.
Although the government has more advice about clearing snow and ice from your premises, it is often much more beneficial to enlist the services of a professional. For example, De-Ice is a leading supplier of gritting and snow clearance services in the UK with over 15 years’ experience providing winter maintenance solutions.
Advice for employees driving in winter
With members of staff that drive for work purposes, it makes sense to have a winter driving policy. Employers should ensure drivers take heed of warnings, regardless of whether they are official external sources or from within the organisation.
In conditions where staff can travel safely, journeys should still be managed according to a winter driving policy, which looks at things like road type (can rural roads be avoided?), hazards (accident “black spots”), traffic densities (avoiding rush hour), and high-risk features (steep hills).
Another essential aspect of a winter driving policy is how to prepare vehicles for adverse conditions. “In addition to checking that company-owned vehicles are prepared for winter, and remain in a good condition throughout the season, employers could also provide a checklist to encourage staff who drive for work to conduct all the necessary checks of their own vehicles,” says RoSPA.
If you need further help in planning for winter conditions then specialist companies such as De-Ice can help, with their vast experience of project managing and delivering the logistic necessary for such tasks
You are not alone when it comes to the correct planning of how to keep roads and pavements clear of snow and ice during winter, let the experts help.