Our Country Is Getting Colder
Although the UK enjoyed a decade of mild winters between 1998-2008, it now seems that our cold season is getting definitely colder. Throughout January to March 2013, the average temperature was 3.3° C, a whole half degree down on the 1981-2010 average of 3.8° C. Ironically enough one of the possible culprits that may have caused this change is global warming. Experts claim that the rise in our planet's overall temperature has melted the ice caps, causing a flow of cold water from the Arctic that's diverting the gulf stream. This is the weather system responsible for the UK's pleasant weather, without which many experts say we would have a climate that's similar to the Russian capital, Moscow.
A Stiff Upper Lip
However, one thing that the UK is famous for is the ability of its population to adapt and come together to survive. We're not the type of people who're just going to get a bit of cold weather and snow get in the way of our daily working lives. Most workers brave their way through even the most treacherous of conditions to make it to their employment responsibilities. Although we like to lean on the authorities in times like this, is there more that business could be doing to help out their employees and customers during our increasingly harsh winters?
Make Your Wheels Safe
If you have a number of staff who are travelling to work in company owned vehicles, then it's important to check that their transport is up to the task of dealing with icy and snow compromised roads. Tyres are the number one concern. These should have enough tread on them to cope with treacherous conditions, and if you have any executive vehicles with softer performance tyres, then you'll want to swap these out for a hard-wearing winter type. You could even invest in some vehicle snow socks which fit over your vehicle's wheels to improve grip. You can also further ensure the safety of your staff by providing an emergency kit in every company vehicle consisting of a first aid kit, a torch and a folding snow shovel that can be used to clear drifts and free up a stuck car or van.
Although no one likes slipping over on an icy pavement, this supposed pedestrian safe area can turn into a death trap during icy weather and snow. Around 22% (1,550 people) of road fatalities happen due to ice and snow covered pavements with pedestrians making up a significant number of these deaths. All too often local councils are only concerned with making sure the roads are free from hazardous materials, leaving slush, snow and ice free to pile up round the curb and onto the pathway. If you operate a large retail business, such as an electrical goods shop or a DIY supply centre, then you may want to take matters into your own hands and clear the pathways around your premises for your customers. The ideal way to do this is with a hand drawn salt spreader, which can quickly and easily remove both the snow and any hard packed ice on important walkways.
De-Icing Business Roads
With city council resources becoming more scarce and stretched thanks to the UK's stagnant economy, it may be the case that not all roads in your town or city are gritted during outbreaks of harsh winter weather. This may be especially true for thoroughfares on local business parks, which may come at the bottom of the local authority's priority list. If you're expecting a lot of deliveries or customers this could have a negative effect on the smooth running of your business. However, it is possible to purchase a vehicle drawn grit spreader that can be attached to any vehicle with a hook system, allowing you to free up the roads round your business with considerable ease. You could even sell such a service to your business neighbours.
When snow first comes to rest on concrete or cement it's considerably easier to clear than after it's laid for a while, and has been compacted by vehicle tyres and feet. If you own a business with a car-park, then you can use a very simple hand plough to keep any area free from loose snow. This might require a little bit of effort in the first place, but the potential money saved from preventing damage to your own vehicles and customer vehicles in the long run dramatically outweighs such elbow work.
Always Have A Plan
Finally, whilst we can't predict exactly when cold weather will occur, we can be sure that at some point during the winter months there will be outbreaks of snow, blizzards and generally miserable climes. By making contingency plans for the coming freeze, you can ensure that you're prepared to deal with the problems it may bring head on, ensuring both you and your customers make the best out of a bad situation.