With winter comes snow, ice and dangerous weather, which can cause injury to users of your business, or traffic delays, and access issues to buildings including shops or offices.
That’s where gritting comes in, providing a solution to the problems that wintery weather brings. By correctly identifying how bad weather may affect you, and how gritting can solve parts of this, you can ensure a safe winter for all users of your site.
Gritting roads uses road salt, which is supplied and distributed by private contractors that use gritting vehicles to spread the salt over the roads. The salt then forms a brine with surface water and prevents roads from freezing over.
When providing a commercial gritting solution, securing a gritting contract is part of it. A gritting contract may not always be successful however, as they must be intrinsically tailored to each person.
There are three steps to a successful gritting contract, and when considering how to grit:
When considering choosing a gritting contractor, or hiring a grit bin, it’s important that you first consider areas that are a priority problem to grit. If you have a large space that poses a risk at wintertime, then you will need to identify the specific problems in order to apply a solution. For example, a wheelchair ramp is a high priority area to grit, as there is a risk to users, and this could limit accessibility.
This should form part of your winter risk assessment as standard, but when considering getting the services of a gritting contractor, it’s important you identify any and all areas that are essential to be gritted, and what kind of service agreement you need in order to maintain these areas.
There are two simple options here, both of which are done best in conjunction.
The first is to do a walk around of the site with the relevant health and safety team, identifying high traffic routes, both for foot traffic and car traffic. Then, note any potential problems that could happen if the weather iced over, and whether gritting is the best solution.
The second is to ask users of your site if they notice any particular problems, or to report problems if they notice heavy ice in a particular area. As this provides you with exact details of an issue, this data, combined with your walkaround, can provide facilities managers, grounds keepers and more with data that is accurate.
Then, once you combine these two data sources, you should have an accurate priority list of where to grit, and the type of gritting needed.
Once the first step is complete and you have your areas that are potentially problematic that need gritting, it is then important to create a process and priority list for gritting. If you have the services of a gritting contractor, then your process list will most likely be drawn up by them and include the areas they will grit with a vehicle, and which it may be best to have gritted by hand, or handheld machine.
Your winter weather process will also detail any other winter workarounds, which may not be gritting an area, but instead finding appropriate alternatives. For example, a concrete wheelchair ramp is riskier when wet and icy than a metal one with drainage holes in. Therefore, while you could grit the ramp, it may be more effective to provide a removable metal one in the case of bad weather. This would form part of your winter weather process.
The first thing to do when creating such a process is to speak with your gritting contractor. They will be able to recommend a best process for you, and work with you so you know when to request their services, or when you may need to lay grit yourself.
If you are choosing to do this yourself, then using your priority list of problem areas, you can apply grit, or wait for the services of a gritter to come around.
For many, gritting may seem like a simple task, carried out when the weather drops below a certain point. However, it actually needs a lot of coordination, and intelligent weather forecasting, to make it effective and worthwhile. As grit needs to be laid before the cold weather hits, it’s important to have supplies and solutions in place before the weather worsens.
Grit, in order to be effective, must be down before the ground freezes. This is because, as the water and rock salt mixes, it creates a brine, which has a lower freezing point than water, meaning it roads and footways are safer.
Here at Grounds Care Group, we provide a range of practical gritting and winter weather solutions, including forecasting, snow clearance and more.
Get in touch today regarding our winter weather and gritting solutions.