Winter Preparations

Falling leaves in autumn and winter weather including wind, rain and cooler temperatures can cause a multitude of site issues.  With the change in weather well on its way and winter quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to check in and make sure everything is in the best condition.

Winter problems

Access issues can become a concern in winter, particularly in snowy or icy conditions.  If a problem develops, there may be delays in response times at site, when the issue can be tackled and how quickly it can be resolved.  This could lead to operational issues and delays.  If possible, it is best to tackle any potential issues before they develop into problems that require urgent response.

Drainage Networks

Drains can become blocked with leaves, silt and other materials, which can be further exacerbated by heavy rainfall.  Ideally, you should have a regular PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) on your drains, carrying out cleaning and removing any debris.  If this doesn’t happen on your site, or issues are recurring, it may be worth checking that drains are clear and free-flowing and that there are no blockages now as increased rainfall could cause flooding.

Damaged drains, gullies, channels or interceptors could also cause issues.  This may mean that your pollution controls do not work as effectively as designed, or further damage and issues could develop as time goes on.  Your drains and interceptors should have a regular full service to assess condition and determine whether there is any contamination in your interceptors.  Damaged drains or full interceptors could cause pollution to leave your site, particularly if there is heavy rainfall or could contribute to flooding.  If your interceptors have excess silt or oil contamination, it is essential that they are emptied to ensure they continue to function as designed and do not cause pollution.  The consequences of pollution can be financial (for clean-up and potential fines) and reputational.

Environmental Management

It will also be useful to carry out an environmental site assessment to ensure everything is prepared for winter.  Of particular note, you should check bunds to make sure they are clean and dry (not full of litter, leaves and rainwater) and in good condition.  Also make sure that spill kits are full, of the correct type, placed conveniently and protected from the elements in good condition containers.  Waste arrangements should also be assessed to ensure that all waste streams that require protection from the rain (such as electrical equipment), are under appropriate cover and that all waste is prevented from being blown away by the wind.  This will include checking that skips and bins are in good condition, not leaking and are covered.

If you have any site issues, it is an advantage to identify them sooner rather than later and get them resolved now rather than waiting until problems develop, leading to operational disruption.  A site “health check” carried out before the bad weather hits can help to address these problems quickly with minimal disruption.