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Protecting employees and customers – through grit

By Prettpal Somel, UK Marketing Executive, Ambius

According to the Met Office, freezing temperatures are expected to hit the UK as a cold spell descends from the Arctic.

The winter months present new challenges for businesses to guarantee the safety of employees and visitors. Ice and snow aren’t everyday hazards, but businesses should be prepared for almost any possibility. When the weather turns, businesses must act fast to ensure customers and employees can safely move about the premises. Planning ahead and knowing who can help is key to ensuring your site can remain ice and snow free.

The science behind the salt
The most common and effective solution to prevent ice-induced slips and potential injuries is gritting. The importance of gritting is highly recognised amongst councils aiming to preserve public safety on the roads. In fact, local councils ordered about 1.4 million tonnes of salt ahead of this winter gritting season. This is more than was used through all of last winter season (1.2 million tonnes).

Grit is rock salt, mined from ancient underground salt mines. It works by lowering the freezing point of the ice and moisture on the ground. This prevents ice from forming and helps to melt the existing ice on the ground too. It’s a tried and tested formula, but knowing how to access and distribute grit, is another question.

When and where should I grit?
Successful gritting is all about timing. If grit is laid down too early it can get picked up by the wind and blown away, meaning it is wasted. But if you leave it too late, surfaces may already be frozen, presenting a risk for both visitors and staff.

The best time to grit a site is typically overnight, before the temperature hits its lowest, and so the site is ready for when the next working day begins.

In terms of where grit should be distributed, building managers need to prioritise the main access routes and thoroughfares. This includes all entrances and exits, car parks, or any

popular routes from nearby train stations or bus stops, for example. For schools, any outdoor areas where students or teaching staff will be walking in between lessons should be treated.

In the event of snowfall, all snow will need to be cleared properly before grit is distributed, so it can work effectively.

Bring in the professionals
Knowing exactly when an icy or snowy spell will strike can be challenging. This is why using a professional gritting service is often the easiest and safest way to ensure your site is properly gritted.

Most reputable gritting services operate using a 24/7 Met Office weather watch solution, which alerts to when potentially hazardous weather conditions are on the horizon – for example below 2 or 3°C. Experts will visit your site when it’s vacant (i.e. around working/ school hours, or overnight) and identify the priority areas for treatment. Snow clearance usually forms part of this service too.

Another concern when gritting is protecting the local environment. If deployed incorrectly, the grit can damage grassed areas, flowers and foliage. Professional gritting experts know how to work with the utmost care to ensure the process is managed as quickly, safely and as efficiently as possible. They will also provide things like grit bins, bags of salt and snow shovels so your business has the capability to manage and lay grit if needed.

Final words
When snow and ice strikes, employees and students will typically have to make more effort than usual, to get into work or school. Ensuring a safe and slip-free environment for when they arrive is fundamental and will help deliver a positive experience of your premises. Having the right gritting services in place will minimise any disruption while helping ensure the safety of your employees, customers and passers-by.


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