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News archive - November/December 2017

Winter gritting plans essential, says contractor

Winter maintenance firm GRITIT is warning schools of the dangers of leaving winter gritting to the last minute.

The firm says: “Research by the British Institute of Facilities Managemenr indicates that almost a quarter of facilities managers said that they don’t have a winter maintenance plan in place - and of those that do, 26 per cent fail to review it annually.

“Failing to get things right can have a major effect on any individuals that come to harm and also to an organisation’s reputation and its finances. There is also the risk of legal action. For example, one West Midlands pupil was awarded £35,000 for a slip on playground ice and such cases are growing more frequent. “

GRITIT says a robust winter maintenance plan, embedded into an organisation’s health and safety policy, can help to ensure that it meets its statutory duty of care responsibilities, achieves compliance, manages risk, and meets insurer’s expectations.. Key aspects of any effective plan include:

  • Use of a recognised health and safety management system such as OHSAS1800115 to ensure the plan is fit for purpose.
  • Clearly defined and communicated responsibilities - both on the ground and with a senior ‘champion’ to ensure high level management buy-in.
  • A process for documenting the proactive actions, incidents and investigations undertaken with records maintained and kept for a minimum of three years.
  • Adequate resourcing with a dedicated trained team, sufficient and well-maintained PPE.
  • Clearly defined KPIs to measure performance against and a process to review the plan and any KPIs on a regular basis (at least bi-annually)

To assist estates managers, GRITIT, in association with BIFM, has produced the Winter Maintenance Best Practice Guide.