Tuesday 5 January 2010

watch out where the huskies go.....

It's pretty cold around these parts at the moment, and apparently we are having the worst cold weather conditions the country has seen in some 15 years. As you'd expect from a nation that is obsessed by the weather and gets its knickers in a knot at the slightest deviance from the norm*, this has been all over the national news, with lots of pictures of people struggling through not-actually-very-extreme conditions at all.

[*come to think of it, that's a trait that applies to much more than just the weather, doesn't it....]

It's not just the national news that's affected though, and today we had the following message put up on our company intranet:

"Over the past few weeks our team have done a brilliant job of gritting the site throughout the day and night trying to melt the ice on the roads and pavements, using an unprecedented 60 tonnes of road salt. Although we have a number of orders in place with the national grit supplier, there is a national shortage and an embargo has been put in place, meaning only councils will be provided with grit."

They're choosing to prioritise public highways over private sites? tsk. How very dare they!

It goes on....

"To ensure we can make the remaining of our grit last as long as possible, we are working closely with the health and safety, business planning and the risk department, to priorities key areas to grit. This means that some roads, car parks and pavements on site may be untreated, so please take extra special care when parking cars and making your way around site, taking all necessary precautions such as wearing sensible footwear."

.... you just know that they've had meetings about this, don't you? You know: Health & Safety getting together with Business Planning and the Risk Department, perhaps over a bagged lunch and coffees, to discuss the most pressing issues of the day.

Areas to prioritise? Hmm. From the Executive Car Park to the main entrance?

They've also helpfully provided a few handy hints and tips for travelling safely in the cold weather and popped them on the intranet.  I think I'll quote these in full:

1. Take extra care and allow more time for travelling between your destinations.
2. Only wear shoes or boots with appropriate grip. Bring an extra pair of shoes if necessary.
3. Always dress warmly, but also wear bright colours so motorist and cyclists can see you.
4. Pay extra attention to roads you may cross - cars may not be able to stop quickly or as suddenly in ice conditions.
5. Try to avoid carrying things while walking, as this can throw you off balance.
6. Take extra care when getting in and out of vehicles.

1. In these types of conditions with patches of black ice on the roads it is advised to find alternative methods of transport if possible.
2. When arriving at the site, we advise that you dismount and walk across site.
3. Always dress warmly, but also wear bright colours so motorists and pedestrians can see you.
4. All cyclists travelling in poor lighting conditions must have front and back lights on by law.
5. Reduce your speed, according to road conditions.
6. Focus on road conditions and activity well ahead.
7. Remember motorist may not have such a clear view from their vehicle and may not see you
8. Make sure bike is in good working order.
9. On your journey, regularly check your brakes, pedals and wheels for ice or snow build up. Stop if necessary and clean, checking your breaks are still effective.
10. There is a higher risk of ice build up and hidden obstacles on the side of the roads – please ensure you cycle on a clean area of road.

1. When roads are slippery it will take you longer to stop - up to 10 times longer.
2. Drop your speed and give yourself more time to slow down.
3. Do not use you mobile phone when driving, this is against the law.
4. Take extra care when approaching crossings, giving plenty of time to brake/react.
5. Take extra care in car parks and be considerate to other motorists and pedestrians when parking.
6. Make sure your headlights are kept regularly clean.
7. Ensure your tyres have adequate tread.
8. Ensure snow on your roof is removed as this can slip forward and block your view.

Icy roads may mean it takes you longer to stop? Thank goodness they're here to tell us these things. It's surely what corporate intranet sites were invented for.

Tomorrow: why breathing both in AND out on a regular basis will help us enjoy a longer life.....

Should I be more worried by the fact that my nanny company publishes this stuff for us, or that they think that they employ people who need to be told?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off out for a run.

I may be some time.


  1. "Should I be more worried by the fact that my nanny company publishes this stuff for us, or that they think that they employ people who need to be told?"

    Both part of the same thing, surely? The real red flag for me is that your employer has a "risk department". Excessive attention paid to avoidance of risk is one of my main bugbears in life. Strikes me that this anxious, neurotic type of worldview is what really lies behind the "nanny" mentality, in its various manifestations. Certain people have problems accepting (or even embracing) the concept that a friend of mine recently described as "the value of uncertainty". In my experience, they tend to congregate together and end up in "middle management" type positions in companies and governments.

  2. "Hello? It's me, your BOSS!
    Just like you to know, Smarty Pants: you're FIRED!"

    Seriously though:
    This information could be highly useful under the right circumstances:
    If you woke up and didn't know who you were, where you were, or what you were, you could use it to learn how to walk, ride a bike, or drive a car. In all weathers!
    In complete safety.
    Providing, of course, you also had about your person, the relevant illustrated guides as to what feet, bicycles and cars were.

    You may laugh, but in my day, we had to figure it all out from scratch.