Safe Snow Removal Guide

There is a lot of information out there about how to clear snow and ice and it can be a little overwhelming, but don’t stress! We’re here to help you break the ice and use our products properly to keep you and others safe this winter.

Why do we De-ice?

Snow and ice can be perilous and threatens the safety of everyone. In fact, last year slips trips and falls were the most common type of workplace injury (hse.gov). According to the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 (1984) owners or occupiers must ensure staff and visitors are safe when using their premises, but more than that we have a duty to care for one another.

So why grit? Well, what people refer to as ‘grit’ is usually rock salt (or ice melt) mixed with sand or gravel to increase traction. Both products work by attracting - and combining with - any moisture to form a brine that has a lower freezing point than water. This then thaws any existing snow and ice and helps prevent re-freezing.

How to Clear Snow

   1.  Watch the Weather

Ideally gritting is done when snow is forecast, or the ground is wet, and temperatures are set to fall below 0°C. Then the de-icer will combine with the water before it has a chance to freeze, reducing the buildup of ice and snow. Monitor the forecast for these conditions and keep an eye on the outlook as heavy rain could wash away your product before it has a chance to work!

   2.  Plan Your Passage

No-one can de-ice everywhere; it would be inefficient and expensive! Decide which routes to grit by surveying which are most popular, especially for solid de-icers which work best when ground down by road/foot traffic. Continue to reinforce safe use of these with wayfinding or winter safety signage.

   3.  Shovel the Snow

If you wake up to a winter wonderland - whether you pretreated or not – don’t just go out and throw grit on the deep snow. Apart from taking forever to melt through, you’d have to use a lot of product to be effective. Instead scoop any fresh snow away using a snow shovel or pusher (taking care to keep waste out of the way) so de-icer can be applied directly to the ice. This will ensure the most efficient use of your product.

   4.  Distribute Your De-icer

Spread your choice of product over the areas you mapped out earlier. Always apply evenly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, considering both location and temperature. Use a hand shovel or scoop to manually scatter your de-icer on the ground or for an even smoother time use a grit spreader, which will automatically spread a continuous layer as you walk with it. If you’re not sure which de-icer is best for you then just ask, we’d be happy to help.

   5.  Top-up Over Time

You can’t rely on the same product to work forever. Prolonged snowfall, rain, uncleared sludge from previous gritting: these things can all weaken or wash away de-icer, leaving your routes vulnerable to re-freezing. Continue to monitor the weather going forward and plan re-applications around peak traffic – popular times tend to be early morning and evenings.

Final Tips

  • De-icers can keep for years if stored correctly – put them in a dry and temperature-controlled area if possible. Solid products will wash away or clump when wet, so why not invest in one of our grit bins? Designed to keep your products secure in a variety of situations.
  • Do not attempt to clear snow with warm water - this will quickly cool as it touches freezing air or surfaces and become black ice.
  • Dress appropriately when working outside, in the cold, and with chemical products – put up PPE signs to encourage others to do the same.
  • Clean up after snow and ice has melted whether you are planning to re-apply or not – residue from clearing snow can be trodden inside, block drains, or runoff into vegetated areas, so be sure to dispose of it properly.

Here to Help

We hope you’ve learned something about how to stay safe and sound this winter! If you’d like to see more like this, or you want to tell us what you think, follow us on social media. And don’t forget to check out the full Winter Essentials range to find everything you need to follow our advice, and more...