Why Do It Yourself Winter Gritting Actually Makes Sense
Businesses across the UK face the challenge of ensuring the safety of their premises and maintaining access for employees, customers, and visitors during the winter months. This will typically involve choosing a professional Winter Gritting Company or if they have sufficient on-site resources simply providing this service with existing in-house teams.
While professional winter gritting services are often a preferred option, DIY winter gritting can be a cost-effective alternative for businesses with the necessary resources and expertise. In this blog, we’ll explore the key considerations for businesses undertaking their own winter gritting, with a focus on the specific areas that DIY Winter Gritting often falls short on.
DIY Winter Gritting and the Importance of Accredited Training
Before embarking on a DIY winter gritting program, it is recommended that business invest in training for its staff. Proper training not only enhances safety but also boosts the effectiveness of your efforts and help understand some fundamentals such as..
Understanding weather forecasts and identifying potential hazards. Accurately interpreting weather forecasts and anticipating ice and snow risks.
Proper winter gritting techniques and application rates. Knowing the correct de-icing or grit types, application methods, and spread rates is vital for ensuring maximum effectiveness and minimising any negative environmental impact.
Health and safety considerations. Proper handling of grit materials, personal protective equipment, and emergency procedures to safeguard your employees.
As facility owner, you are responsible for all aspects of health and safety during winter, and there are a considerable number of laws that you need to not only comply with, but also be able to demonstrate this. If anyone, staff, visitor or supplier, has a trip or a fall in winter, the burden falls on you. Read more here.
Accurate Weather Forecasting and Site Setup
We cannot stress enough the extent to which accurate weather forecasting is vital for effective gritting efforts. By understanding the timing and intensity of expected snowfall or ice, business can allocate resources efficiently and ensure timely gritting applications. A well-thought-out site survey and plan is crucial – considering factors such as elevation, orientation, draining, and water pooling on your premises. This allows you to optimise your site for efficient gritting. Businesses should consider factors such as:
Elevation. Higher-elevation areas are more prone to freezing and ice formation, requiring more intensive gritting.
Orientation. North-facing areas and shaded areas tend to retain snow and ice longer, demanding more attention.
Drainage and water pooling. Identifying areas prone to water pooling and ensuring proper drainage can reduce ice formation and minimise gritting requirements.
Types of surfacing and materials. Different surfaces, such as concrete footpaths, asphalt car parks and metal stairs, require specific grit types and application methods. Businesses should reference accredited professionals to determine the appropriate materials for their premises.
Having enough material to last. Stockpiling sufficient grit ensures uninterrupted protection throughout the winter season. We provide a grit bin and materials service that ensures that you will be provided for all season long. We do not recommend purchasing individual bags of grit because of the unnecessary plastic waste this involves.
Running out of grit in the middle of a cold spell is a scenario no business wants to face. We can help you calculate the right quantity of grit needed based on your facility size and local weather conditions. Understanding suggested spread rates ensures you distribute the material evenly, maximising its effectiveness in preventing slips and falls.
Suggested Spread Rates for DIY Winter Gritting
The spread rate of grit depends on various factors, including the severity of weather conditions, surface type, and traffic volume. As a general guideline, we recommend the following spread rates:
For roads: 30-40 grams per square meter. Ironically heavy traffic means salt becomes more effective (it is pressed into the ice and may become a more effective brine solution) but it may also not last as long. For footpaths and pavements: 20-40 grams per square meter depending on the traffic and for car parks: 25-40 grams per square meter, again depending on conditions.
For professional gritting work, we recommend work with the weather, not the busyness of the surface. Dry and cold weather usually means a light application, whereas rain usually means a heavier application because rain washes gritting material away. Light is 15/20 grams per square meter, medium is 25-30 grams per square meter and heavy is 40 grams per square meter.
Templates for Legally Recording DIY Winter Gritting Activity
Maintaining accurate records of gritting activities is essential for maintaining compliance with health and safety regulations and protecting business from potential liability claims. To protect your business legally, it is non-negotiable to keep detailed records of your winter gritting activities. We offer a free template that businesses can use to record essential information, ensuring compliance with regulations and minimising the risk of legal issues.
DIY winter gritting can certainly be a viable and cost-effective option for businesses that are willing to invest in the necessary training, equipment, and resources. By following the guidelines outlined in this article and utilising expertise in accredited training, accurate forecasting, and law-ready record-keeping, business can ensure the safety of their premises and maintain access throughout the winter season.
By properly preparing for DIY winter head-on, business can better protect operational continuity and safeguard the health and safety of visitors and staff alike. To receive our free template or any further information about our winter services, drop us a note…
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