When I was at school I had to learn a Christmas Carol called “In the bleak midwinter….” and at the time I grumbled about it.
It was basically a poem written by Christina Rosetti and then set to a piece of music called “Cranham” by the British composer Gustav Holst, He also wrote the Planets Suite including Jupiter which is better known to us as the tune to the hymn “I vow to Thee my Country”
The first verse goes :
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
I grumbled because I didn’t really want to learn the five verses off by heart but I actually complained because it did not seem relevant because our winters rarely had any snow, and were more overcast and rainy than as dramatic as the first verse implied.
Nowadays, it would be difficult to set to music the advances of technology that work in our modern “midwinters”. Satellite forecasts, emailed warnings, Risk Assessments, Method Statement, Public Liability Insurance, No win-No fee, Due Diligence, Compensation, Health and Safety Inspection would struggle to make it in to a poem let alone a song proclaiming the birth of the baby Jesus!
So lets assess matters, for starters things generally are not so “bleak”, we have lines of communication that enable people to video conference around the globe even if “Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow” (labouring the point a bit!), the expectations have changed since “long ago”.
But the principles are still the same and in recent winter periods we have had snow and ice disrupt our daily routines. Not just because the weather is so bad, normal life is impossible; nowadays we have to assess risk and perceive what would be “due diligence” to manage that risk.
If someone has an accident, a slip, trip or fall, on your premises, car park, private road or pathway; you could be liable. This could be drawn to their attention by any solicitor or legal firm, (apparently some operate on a no win-no fee basis!) and you or your Public Liability Insurance policy can be examined, by the proceedings that folllow. Upset? Victimless crime? How is your insurance premium? Policy Excess? Policy limit?
There is a way to show a legal team that you have shown “due diligence” to the “perceived risk”, and the solution offered by the site specific “Risk Assessment” is that when the temperature drops below a certain level for long enough that ice would form, a certain course of action could reactively address the issue.
Treatment of roads and pedestrian areas with salt or grit(with high salt content) is carried out to prevent frost and ice forming and reduce the build up of snow to help provide a safe passage on roads and pedestrian areas.
Science lesson – How does salt prevent frost and ice forming?
Frost and ice form when water freezes. Salt spread on ice in a container (or on roads and pedestrian areas) mixes with any moisture and creates a saline solution. Saline solutions freeze at a lower temperature than water, so frost and ice doesn’t form on the road, even though the temperature is below freezing for water. It’s for exactly the same reason why salty sea water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water. The actual freezing point of a saline solution depends on the salinity (strength) of the saline solution. This means that more salt may be needed if the weather is colder.
The applicable amount of salt is spread on surfaces to ensure, as far as can possibly be assessed, that the salinity of any moisture on the roads is sufficient enough to prevent the formation of frost and ice.
Will salt melt snow?
No. Salt doesn’t directly melt snow as it firstly has to mix with the snow to form a saline solution and lower the melting point. If snow is predicted, salt is spread in advance so when the first snow falls it can start to mix with salt to create a saline solution which can reduce the build up (accumulation) of snow and prevent the formation of ice.
However in prolonged periods of snowfall the snow can fall at a rate faster than the salt can mix with the snow which means the snow may accumulate. Accumulated snow will have to be ploughed away from the roads or cleared in the pedestrian areas, but this is made much easier by salt spread in advance of the snowfall as the salt already applied reduces the likelihood of the snow freezing on the surface.
Placing salt on top of snow which has already fallen has limited benefits. Ideally, snow should be cleared before salt is applied to the road or pedestrian area.
Scared? Don’t be!
Our solution is this.
Our service team will be happy to chat about your requirements, suggest solutions and arrange a quotation. We will offer you with a formal full plan and our helpful team will ensure that your Duty of Care is met. You’re covered in adverse weather conditions. This ensures that you have completed your due diligence to reduce a risk as a property owner and that the site users remain ice & frost free and ready for your staff and customer’s arrival.
If you don’t need us – we don’t charge you. All we ask is for registration before October 31st and if we have a winter that requires no gritting at all; we would not charge you at all! Mild winter anyone?
So if it gets really risky to live your normal life the Government will say, “do not go out unless you have to!” The radio, television or internet will inform us that schools or other public buildings are closed and we can stay in and build a snowman. We at Kentcare, will still go out and ensure that your premises or workplace is safe for the hardiest of employees and tenants. They have to show common sense too, especially if the Met Office or Government Agency issues a severe weather warning.
So once you have registered with us, sit back, relax, pour yourself a drink. Ice?