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WINTER MAINTENANCE


DON’T SLIP UP IN WINTER: TOP TIPS FOR WINTER MAINTENANCE


Nikki Singh-Barmi, Managing Director, GRITIT introduces their good practice guide, produced in collaboration with BIFM, and offers expert advice on how to prepare a safe and reliable winter maintenance plan.


We’ve all felt that sinking feeling. You put your foot down on a snowy pavement and, without warning, your feet slide from under you. You find yourself in a crumpled heap – the object of onlookers’ mirth. If you’re lucky, you will escape with only bruised pride rather than anything more serious.


The UK is experiencing increasingly unpredictable winters and the risk of slips, trips and falls, from the amusing to the more serious, is likely to become far more commonplace. A joint study by climate experts from the Met Office and scientists from the University of Sheffield reveals that British winters are set to become increasingly volatile, due to extreme variations in atmospheric circulation patterns over the North Atlantic.


Any accident or injury sustained on an organisation’s property can


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have serious repercussions. An ad hoc service approach is no longer adequate to support business confidence or continuity. It increases the risk of lost revenue, reputation and productivity resulting from accident liability claims or shut- downs caused by snow and ice. At the same time, unpredictable winters are also playing havoc with FMs’ planned preventative maintenance programmes, not to mention landscaping designs and air-conditioning use.


Recognising the impact that the changing climate and extreme weather will have on UK building design and energy use, the universities of Bath and Exeter have embarked upon an 85-year weather forecasting project to help scientists and engineers to understand how building design reacts to different weather conditions.


The lead researcher predicts that temperature changes are large enough to make some buildings uncomfortable or even fail certain regulations. Planning for the weather is key to ensuring buildings that remain compliant and sustainable.


As winter approaches, these are five top tips to help organisations to prepare for adverse weather during the winter months, from beginning preparations and scheduling interior and exterior maintenance tasks, to grounds maintenance, gritting, and snow clearance.


1. UNDERSTANDING YOUR DUTY OF CARE


The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 defines an employer’s Duty of Care obligation as: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable,


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