Prepare for winter to keep Britain safe and open for business

Prepare for winter to keep Britain safe and open for business

Ground Control, the UK’s largest independent winter maintenance provider, is warning UK businesses to get ready for what some forecasters are predicting will be the coldest winter in over a decade.

Richard Burroughs, who is Business Development Director for Ground Control’s award-winning winter maintenance services UK-wide, advises businesses of all types not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the long balmy autumn weather. He commented; ‘’Our long-range weather forecasts claim that Britain could be braced to face the coldest and harshest winter for almost a decade. More businesses need to be ready for this and prepare appropriately now.”

Last year ‘The Beast from the East’ created some of the most challenging weather experienced in the UK for years. The Met Office issued numerous red warnings – its most severe alert – as temperatures plunged with widespread snowfall accumulations.  With predictions pointing toward a potentially bitterly cold winter ahead, businesses should plan and prepare a meticulous winter maintenance regime ensuring their sites remain safe and operational, despite what hazardous conditions the winter weather may bring.

Encouraging UK businesses to forward plan and think ahead, Burroughs continued, “Legally, the position of employers and property owners is abundantly clear. The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 states that property owners/occupiers have a common duty of care to provide every ‘reasonable precaution’ to ensure their staff and visitors remain safe at all times. The onus is therefore on all businesses to have contingency plans in place ahead of any adverse weather event, preventing likely slips, trip and/or accidents.”

Ground Control advises how an effective, robust winter maintenance plan should be an integral part of an organisation’s health and safety policy and should include:

– A clear process with allocated overall responsibility for overseeing the plan and specific tasks assigned to individuals who have had appropriate training

– Detailed site specifications with identified hazardous areas and bespoke clearance and gritting instructions for each site including risk assessments and method statements

– Continuous monitoring of the plan and performance measurement against defined key performance indicators

– Plans to regularly maintain winter vehicles and equipment

– The procurement and maintenance of adequate supplies of clearance equipment, salt and grit bins to last through a harsh winter

– Procedures to communicate the safe operating procedures to all staff

“The crucial decision as to whether gritting and snow clearance services should be outsourced or self-delivered should not be made lightly. There is an abundance of guidance on this topic, and naturally as a specialist winter maintenance service provider, Ground Control can fully support in this respect.” Burroughs continues; “The cold weather last year, which saw major disruptions across the country, cost the UK economy at least £1bn per day. Attempting to combat all that the winter weather may bring without having made the proper preparations, proved to be troublesome for many businesses across all sectors. It is therefore strongly advised to evaluate the associated risks and plan and prepare in advance.”

Only last year did Ground Control make the strategic acquisition of Litter Boss, (specialists in grounds and winter maintenance) which has increased their nationwide economies of scale and operational efficiencies.  This now makes Ground Control undoubtedly, the largest winter maintenance provider across the UK.

They have recently been awarded The Queen’s Award for Innovation in recognition of their pioneering role in creating leading edge technology specifically geared for winter maintenance operations. The challenge for Ground Control revolved around the need to allocate resources and people with the highest degree of accuracy, speed and efficiency, directing hundreds of teams nationally at any one time based on customer demand. The company developed its own software technologies that provides each of its clients with full real-time visibility into the works being carried out anywhere in the UK.

“Don’t get caught out,” Burroughs summarised. “Remember that prevention is better than cure, so prepare now… Please feel free to reach out for professional advice or for a free no obligation quotation.’’


Prepare for winter to keep Britain safe and open for business