Ready for winter? These BIFM guides can help with winter maintenance and risk management

by Brianna Crandall — October 20, 2017 — BIFM, the UK-based professional body for facilities management supporting over 16,000 individual and organizational members around the world, has launched its latest Good Practice Guide to Winter Maintenance in association with GRITIT, the UK-based winter gritting winter maintenance specialists.

The guide is the latest in the BIFM’s Good Practice Guide series and was authored by Jason Petsch, CEO of GRITIT. The guide is intended to provide FM professionals with practical advice to help support them in the development of better working practices around winter maintenance, covering all aspects from creating a plan and reducing risk to driving safely.

BIFM also released its Winter Risk Management Guidance Note highlighting the key factors that should be considered alongside each other.

The weather forecasters’ predictions for some of the coldest winters this century became a reality in 2016 and 2010, and the notoriously unpredictable UK weather has become more volatile, points out BIFM. The best way to meet the challenge of these conditions is through thorough planning and preparation for winter maintenance, and with little documented guidance currently available for FMs, the BIFM’s guide in conjunction with GRITIT supports the development of robust winter maintenance plans that can be embedded at the top level to a company’s health and safety policy.

Research carried out by BIFM and GRITIT reveals that more than 30 percent of organizations fail to plan for the winter period, and of those that do plan ahead, 85 percent were not planning to do anything differently from 2012, despite UK Plc receiving an overall £318 million bill as a result of business closures due to snow.

Author Jason Petsch pointed out that FMs are “becoming increasingly aware of the growing impact of the risks of lost revenue, reputation and productivity resulting from accident liability claims or shut-downs caused by snow and ice.”

Petsch said the publication draws on GRITIT’s experience and learning to add two new sections on making the best use of technology and specific skills and training for the unique demands of winter, helping FM professionals to ensure “they have a robust winter maintenance plan in place and are not left vulnerable in the coming season.”

The latest guide covers all aspects of winter maintenance and top tips from BIFM’s Winter Maintenance Good Practice Guide, including:

  • Ensure your winter safety procedures are integrated into a recognizable health and safety management system such as OHSAS18001 or HS(G)65 Successful Health and Safety Management.
  • Send the winter maintenance plan to your insurer or broker, both to ensure it covers all the areas required in the policy and also to see whether it can positively impact the organization’s premiums. An effective winter maintenance plan should allow an insurer to deny any injury claim.
  • If an accident does occur as a result of snow or ice, conduct a full accident investigation to identify the root cause of the incident, review whether the procedures in the plan were sufficient, and demonstrate that you did all that is reasonably expected of you.
  • Maintain records that show you have delivered your risk management plan, and keep these for at least three years.

The Good Practice Guide to Winter Maintenance is one of many new or updated guides slated to be released by BIFM in the coming months. BIFM’s Good Practice Guides series aims to be jargon-free, practical guides on specific and diverse subjects for the benefit of FM professionals. The guides provide hints and tips that FMs are able to implement into their working practices with ease, says the group.

The Winter Maintenance Guide is free to download to all BIFM members as part of their member benefits, and £19.99 for non-members. It is available now from BIFM along with other guides in the series from the Good Practice Guides Web page.

The Winter Risk Management Guidance Note is free to download to members and non-members along with other notes from the BIFM Guidance Notes Web page.