Every year, gritters take to the roads with the aim of preventing injuries, collisions, and dangerous driving conditions. However, often the question is asked as to who is responsible for gritting roads, pavements, carparks, and other private roadways.
For business owners and landowners, there is duty of care on your land to prevent unwanted risks due to ice and snow, to visitors and users of the land, including carparks and other roads. Being prepared against winter risks is critical to business continuity, especially if you work in healthcare, construction, rail (and transport), leisure and hospitality, and many more.
Road gritting responsibility falls to one of three groups:
Depending on the type of road, where the road is located, and how much through traffic the road has will depend on the gritting priority of that road.
As the major road network is such a vital part of keeping the country connected, gritting motorways and access points is seen as a high priority. Highway agencies, such as Highways England, are responsible for gritting and maintaining these networks.
In London, Transport for London manages the trunk roads leading into the major road network.
The minor road network comprises smaller A roads and important B roads, as well as routes into A&E, fire, and ambulance stations and other roads that have high traffic routes.
These roads are often in Priority One or Two routes, and maintenance including gritting will be carried out by local authorities, such as councils and their subcontractors.
Local roads, like those in residential streets, will not often get gritted in the winter unless it’s located on the route selected by the council. Roads located near a school, railway station, medical facility, or other important access point, are more likely to get gritted in order to keep key amenities available to the public.
However, more often than not, the council is likely to provide grit bins or liaise with parish councils to grit residential roads.
The responsibility of gritting pavements falls to the owner of the road or land that the pavement is on. If the local council grits a road, they will largely try and spread grit onto the adjoining pavement to protect public use of the road and the pavement.
If a pavement is on the road near a school but cars are parked next to it, a council may provide a grit bin to the school.
Car parks are often on private land, so the responsibility of gritting falls to its owner. If, for example, a hospitality brand has multiple car parks, then the owner would be accountable for having these gritted to prevent risk or injury.
Council car parks, however, will be gritted by either the council or the car park manager. But car parks owned by businesses will need to seek professional gritting services to ensure road conditions remain safe and usable.
Where a business relies on key roads for access, you have options when it comes to gritting. For larger roads, and convenience, a professional gritting service can ensure that a road remains safe. Smaller roads and car parks, however, should consider using a grit bin.
As businesses and companies have duty of care over those using and accessing their land, it’s important to be prepared for winter and icy weather, especially when accidents become more common.
All landowners and occupiers have a duty of care over those visiting their sites, which means they take responsibility for the safety of any visitors. This could be unpredictable weather that causes disruption, such as a tree branch falling and obstructing access to properties, or in the winter when snow and ice can cause slips and trips outside of leisure facilities.
Regardless of the sector, there is a duty of car when it comes to gritting and this requires many to demonstrate preparedness in the event that road conditions worsen. Whether you work in retail, construction, or even rail, the conditions of roads, pavements and other access points are critical to ensure the public can use your business.
So, what does duty of care actually look like on a daily basis? In the winter, it could be as simple as monitoring reliable weather forecasts, gritting, and assessing for risks. When analysing your site for risks, a business should consider creating a winter risk assessment.
Here at Grounds Care Group, we have years of experience helping businesses with their winter duty of care, including professional and cost-effective gritting solutions, advice and snow clearing services.
From retail to sports, property management and education, we support many sectors remain prepared in the event of unpredictable weather and worsened road conditions.
We have longstanding contracts with many businesses, ensuring their workplaces remain safe in all weathers.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your duty of care and potential business needs.