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NHS Trust – Snow and ice procedure


This policy describes the risks from snow and ice and the actions to be taken by the Trust in relation to them.

Snow and ice may present risks to patients, visitors, staff, and others who access Trust grounds and buildings.

The Trust is required to take reasonably practicable steps in the event of snow and ice conditions and to show that it has plans in place to reduce the risk of harm.

The Trust will be able to demonstrate through this policy that all has been done so far as is reasonably practicable to avoid injury to staff, patients, and visitors, and to comply with current legislation:

General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.

It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety. (1)

The extent of the occupier’s ordinary duty

The common duty of care is a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there. (2)

Every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be of a construction such that the floor or surface of the traffic route is suitable for the purpose for which it is used.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), the requirements in that paragraph shall include requirements that—

(a)the floor, or surface of the traffic route, shall have no hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery so as, in each case, to expose any person to a risk to his health or safety (3)

“Arrangements should be made to minimize risks from snow and ice. This may involve gritting, snow clearing and closure of some routes, particularly outside stairs, ladders and walkways on roofs.” (4)


The Chief Executive of the Trust is ultimately responsible for ensuring that safe access and egress are provided for buildings that are used by staff and visitors and for ensuring that a suitable snow and ice policy is in place. The responsibility for ensuring this policy is implemented is that of senior managers and building controllers. All of these must ensure that all buildings have suitable arrangements in place with regard to managing the effects of snow and ice.

Managers must ensure adequate arrangements are in place to minimize the risks associated with snow and ice, including gritting procedures to provide safe access and egress in all areas.

Managers must ensure that all staff are aware of local gritting procedures and follow a safe system of work, which will form part of the risk assessment.

Managers must ensure that access is available for gritting to take place and any equipment provided, is accessible and suitable for the task.


Warning signs are to be put in place to advise of the hazards associated with snow and ice accumulation on-site at all main vehicular and pedestrian entrances.

Strategically placed posters and information leaflets for patients and visitors and awareness for members of staff communicated through team meetings.

Appropriate internal “wet floor” signage will be provided and placed in an obvious position to warn staff, patients, and visitors of slippery surfaces and impending dangers.

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Risk assessments will be carried out to determine what action needs to be taken in the event of snow and ice conditions. The risk assessment will determine the site-specific procedures for ice and snow conditions and identify the equipment required to safely carry out any clearance operations. Footpaths and car parks should also be incorporated into the clearance procedure where practicable.

The risk assessment should be done in conjunction with staff required to carry out ice and snow clearance on site and should include:

The sequence in which any areas affected by ice or snow will be attended to.

Priority will be given to the following areas for snow and ice clearance:

    • The main entrance to the hospital and disabled access routes
    • Pathways to the entrance of buildings
    • Patient transport drop off / pick up areas/bus stops
    • Zebra crossings and other areas where road markings need to be seen
    • Delivery areas
    • Car parks

When ice and snow clearance will be implemented – for example, will it be preventative or reactive?

The local Met Office or the BBC Local weather reports online may be used for forecasting ice and snow. If the forecast predicts snow or the temperature to fall to +2 degrees Celsius or below, proactive preventative operations to reduce the effects of ice and snow may be implemented.

How ice and snow clearance work will be carried out, who will do it, and when and what equipment will be used, this should also include a manual handling risk assessment, in accordance with the manual handling operations regulations (5).

    • During normal working hours, 08:00 – 18:00 gritting, snow, and ice clearing activities will be performed by the day shift maintenance team.
    • Out-of-hours clearing activities between 18:00 – 22:00 and 06:00 – 08:00 will be performed by the night shift maintenance team.

Any health and safety or lone working considerations for staff carrying out the ice and snow clearance.

    • Musculoskeletal injury caused by failure to observe correct manual handling techniques
    • Spillage of grit contents.
    • Slip, trip, and fall due to snow and ice
    • Low temperatures – hypothermia

Any PPE Requirements.

    • PPE as identified within the risk assessment.

A system for monitoring the weather to ensure preventative gritting is carried out at the right time.

    • Thermometers are positioned around the site to give an indication of falling temperatures, or electronic ice warning systems are in place.

A system for monitoring the effectiveness of operations.

    • Regular site inspections to check for accumulation of snow and formation of ice along high traffic/footfall routes and implement reactive measures to deal with this.
    • Ensure that there are sufficient levels of salt and gritting supplies available at all times.
    • The correct storage of this material should also be considered in order for it to remain as effective as possible.
    • Stock levels will be reviewed by maintenance staff periodically and the responsibility for ensuring adequate supplies are available rests with the building manager.
    • Salt bins should also be positioned around the site for use by any member of staff in circumstances where additional gritting may be necessary.

Provision of suitable absorbent barrier matting in accordance with “The Building Regulations 2010 – Approved Document M” (6), BS 7953:1999 (7) and BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 (8) at all entrances to significantly reduce the amount of moisture transferred to internal floors and thereby reduce the risk of slips occurring.

Training, equipment & safe systems of work:

All employees are to receive specific manual handling training for clearance of snow and ice and gritting procedures.

Employees should be trained to correctly use all tools provided for the purpose of snow and ice clearance.

Employees should be trained to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia and the precautions to take to prevent it.

Periodic inspection:

This procedure should be reviewed at least annually and whenever there is a warning of snow and ice, with a thorough and appropriate site-specific risk assessment and regular audits to review the effectiveness of the policy and associated site procedures.

Other instructions:

It is the responsibility of all staff to immediately report areas of ice or snow that may present a hazard to others and to assist with gritting and snow-clearing operations where practicable in the following areas:

    • Main access and egress routes for staff and patients e.g. main entrance
    • Areas in close proximity to these e.g. pathways in front of buildings, steps leading to them
    • Fire evacuation routes

During adverse weather conditions such as snow and ice, staff should always be mindful of their own health and safety and should wear appropriate clothing and suitable footwear to help reduce the risk of slipping.


    1. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 – section 3 General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees
    2. The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 – section 2 Extent of Occupier’s ordinary duty
    3. Workplace Health, Safety, and Welfare regulations 1992 – regulation 12 Extent of occupier’s ordinary duty and:
    4. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L24 – paragraph 116
    5. Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
    6. The Building Regulations 2010 – Approved Document M “Access to and use of buildings” (2015 edition)
    7. BS 7953:1999 Entrance flooring systems – Selection, installation, and maintenance
    8. BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of practice

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