Yes, it’s that time of year again when winter weather threatens havoc to our well-maintained facilities and potential disruption to employees.

Not only do we face the annual winter weather cycle but also the increasing adverse effects of global warming.  With the EPA predicting the impacts of global warming to include more intense storms and rainfall events we need more than ever to be Winter Ready!

If in doubt here’s a short checklist:

  • Roofs, roof guttering and drains – Have them checked, cleared and schedule any remedial works as soon as possible.
  • Ensure HVAC Systems (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) maintenance is up to date and carry out any pending remedial works as soon as possible.
  • Put a plan in place for Snow & Ice Gritting – ensuring employees, visitors and contractors have safe access to and form the premises.  See the HSA (Health & Safety Authority) website – Weather Safeguards for Ice, Snow Slips ad Falls for further information.
  • Driving for Work?  ensure employees are familiar with vehicle maintenance basics and advice for driving in adverse weather conditions.  For general information on Work Related Vehicle Safety see the HSA website.  You can find more information on Driving in Winter from the RSA’s (Road Safety Authority) Safety Tips for Severe Weather Conditions.
  • Put a Winter Readiness Plan in place including:
    • Weather Report Monitoring
    • Communications plan to communicate with employees in the event of forecasted bad weather or weather-related impacts to facilities.
    • Basic readiness items i.e. increased cleaning programmes for high traffic entryways, mats, signage (e.g. Warning! Slippery Surface)
    • Review Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Contract Procedures in the event of extremely adverse weather conditions (e.g. causing impact to public transport etc.).  See the Government publication Business Continuity Planning in Severe Weather for further information.

If you’d like to know more on this topic but your time is limited, contact us here and we’ll be happy to help.

Alternatively, you can find more information on the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management) website – Winter Maintenance Good Practice Guide.  This latest BIFM guide covers all aspects of winter maintenance.

Key tips include:

  • Integrating winter safety procedures into OHSAS 18001 or similar recognised Health & Safety Management System.
  • Sharing your winter maintenance plan with your insurer / broker to ensure it covers all areas required in the policy & whether it can positively impact the organisations premiums.
  • Complete a full accident investigation to identify the root cause of any snow or ice related accident.  Review this against the plan in place and demonstrate that all reasonable steps were taken.
  • Maintain records to show delivery of the risk management plan – these should be retained for at least three years.

The BIFM Winter Maintenance Guide is freely available to BIFM members and available to purchase for non-members.

Categories: Facilities Management, Featured, Health & Safety

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