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Cold facts

Winter maintenance should be an all-year-round job. This is why, says Jonathan Sharpe Marketing Manager at OUTCO, September is a good time to prepare for every eventuality

Outside of the winter months it is easy to forget that all too soon the weather will turn and freezing temperatures and winter gritting will suddenly become a pressing issue. As we look ahead to this seasonal change, protecting employees and the public from the risks of slips and falls in icy conditions is an incredibly serious responsibility for FMs.

As the saying goes; fail to prepare, then prepare to fail, this couldn’t be truer when it comes to procuring your winter services and preparing your winter services plan. As the winter gritting experts OUTCO can ask if you’re ready for winter? Unfortunately too many facilities managers wait for the season to change before booking their winter services.

Ultimately winter maintenance should be an all-year-round job: late spring and early summer are actually the ideal times to review your winter maintenance plan using up-to-date information, and drawing on experience from the previous winter while it is still fresh, to resolve any issues, explore new initiatives and allocate budget to improve the plan going forward for the coming winter. But even if you’ve yet to consider your winter maintenance plan, their advice is simple; don’t wait until it gets cold before booking your winter services.


Inflation and rising costs are front and centre on all our minds right now. The impact of inflation on business is well documented and as you would expect, we pay close attention to any changes brought about by this business-critical challenge.

Two main winter commodities; vehicles and salt have been impacted heavily due to inflation (and other global factors), and we are now seeing prices rising by over 20 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. By booking your winter services early or by fixing your prices for a longer term, you will insulate yourself from the inevitable industry-wide price rises.


Winter services and insurance cover are often seen in a similar light. We all hope we won’t need them, but if we do, we are covered. The facilities managers who are hedging their bets and waiting to see what the winter weather will be before booking services are treading on thin ice, and are potentially exposing their companies to an unduly high level of risk.

Failure to adequately plan and act can obviously impact anyone unlucky enough to suffer a fall, but it can also harm an organisation’s reputation and bottom line. Legal actions can have severe financial impacts and recent years have seen society become increasingly litigious with the rise of the ‘no win, no fee’ culture. Most worryingly, ‘slipping on ice’ incidents have the potential for the highest value claims and compensation. As a result, proactive winter maintenance planning is becoming even more vital as a way to help businesses to mitigate risks.

So how ready should your organisation be? The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that an employer has a duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees, including the provision of a safe working environment. This duty of care also extends beyond staff to anyone visiting or passing by a site, including suppliers and members of the public.


We know from our own experience, that many businesses are caught out every year by the change in weather. These companies fail to make sufficient (or any) winter gritting and snow clearing provisions – don’t let this be you. The last thing you want to be doing when the weather gets cold is panic searching on google to find an untrusted/unproven provider, who may or may not be able to help. You simply can’t afford to take this risk.

Working with a reputable winter service provider with a proven track record provides peace of mind to you as a busy manager that your duty of care has been met and that your sites will remain safe and compliant throughout winter. OUTCO has built a successful reputation and we ensure that essential winter services are delivered on time, every time and without fail.

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