Hello and welcome to the Winter special of the Ryder Partnership Limited fortnightly newsletter The Alchemist, in which we will keep you up to date on all the latest developments in the world of health and safety


We have plenty of dates for the diary already!

  • IOSH Managing Safely (REFRESHER) – 25th January.
  • IOSH Managing Safely – 28th February – 1st March.
  • Legal Update – 15th March.
  • IOSH Leading Safely – 4th April.
  • IOSH Managing Safely (In the CARE sector.) – 7th April – 19th April.
  • Mental Health First Aid (Level 2) – 17th May.


We have already had our first telephone query of the winter asking us advice on gritting when a customer slipped over on an ungritted footpath….

So, what are the rules around gritting? There has been an urban myth circulating for many years that you should not grit because you could then be held responsible if someone slips over where you have gritted.

Well let me put it out there, you are far more likely to be held responsible if you have NOT gritted than if you have.

There is case history in support of this view…

Here is an advert from an Ambulance chasing website.

Our personal injury team acted on behalf of a young man who sustained injuries as a result of slipping on an untreated icy car park when leaving a public house late one evening.

He fractured his left distal tibia and fibula following the fall. This required internal fixation and he remained in hospital for one week post surgery. Our client later developed a complication and complained of chest pain on the right side and associated shortness of breath.

Investigations showed that he was suffering from a pulmonary embolus which required treatment on medication for six months. He did however make a full recovery within 12 months. A settlement of £9,300 was achieved against the public house.


Here is chapter and verse from the HSE…

Ice, frost and snow:

  • To reduce the risk of slips on ice, frost or snow, you need to assess the risk and put in a system to manage it.
  • Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet.
  • Monitor the temperature, as prevention is key.
  • You need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast.
  • Keep up to date by visiting a weather service site such as the Met Office or the Highways England.
  • There are also smart signs on the market, available to buy at low cost, which display warning messages at 50 and below.
  • Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface;
  • Use grit (see separate article below for more detail) or similar, on areas prone to be slippery in frosty, icy conditions;
  • Consider covering walkways e.g. by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or use an insulating material on smaller areas overnight;
  • Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones.
  • If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored.


The most common method used to de-ice floors is gritting as it is relatively cheap, quick to apply and easy to spread. Rock salt (plain and treated) is the most commonly used ‘grit’. It is the substance used on public roads by the highways authority.

Salt can stop ice forming and cause existing ice or snow to melt. It is most effective when it is ground down, but this will take far longer on pedestrian areas than on roads.

Gritting should be carried out when frost, ice or snow is forecast or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times are early in the evening before the frost settles and/or early in the morning before employees arrive. Salt doesn’t work instantly; it needs sufficient time to dissolve into the moisture on the floor.

If you grit when it is raining heavily the salt will be washed away, causing a problem if the rain then turns to snow. Compacted snow, which turns to ice, is difficult to treat effectively with grit.

Be aware that ‘dawn frost’ can occur on dry surfaces, when early morning dew forms and freezes on impact with the cold surface. It can be difficult to predict when or where this condition will occur.

If you require assistance with gritting outside your place at work, then we recommend contacting

Tracy Randle at Randle Building Solutions on 07815286292.


The traditional office party with its traditional hazards….

A Christmas party is a great way for everyone to unwind, but it’s still important to consider the safety and well-being of your staff.

A little research reveals an array of Christmas related injuries from the mundane to the bizarre.

Seriously, how can someone inhale a drawing pin when putting up the decorations?!

Here are a few things to bear in mind when planning a festive celebration at work:

Carry out a risk assessment

As the event organiser, it is your duty to carry out a risk assessment before the party. Highlight any potential hazards and come up with ways to avoid or reduce them. It’s a good idea to write this down so that you can refer back to it in the event of an accident.

Put someone in charge

Your risk assessment should also nominate someone to monitor health and safety at the party. You can do this yourself, or delegate it to an employee. It will be this person’s job to look out for any developing hazards or ‘horseplay’ as the night wears on. Just remember to have fun too!

Make first aid provisions

Planning a party is a good excuse to check your first aid provisions. Restock any depleted first aid kits and have at least one first aid trained employee present at the event.

Beware of fire and trip hazards

Organising a party will usually mean rearranging the layout of the office. When moving desks and other large items of furniture, check that they are not blocking fire exits. If you’re moving electrical equipment, be sure to unplug it and tuck away any loose wires.

As the party gets underway, otherhazards may appear. Keep an eye on the floor and clear away any litter ordiscarded items. Make sure you also have a mop and a wet floor sign on hand in case of spilled drinks.

Encourage responsible drinking

There’s nothing wrong with your employees having a few drinks at Christmas if they choose, but excessive alcohol consumption can cause big problems. We’re not just talking about embarrassing behaviour but impaired coordination makes people less aware of their surroundings, increasing the risk of an accidental injury.

The best way to avoid this is to set some boundaries beforehand. Remind colleagues that they are still at work, and that excessive drinking is not appropriate. Setting up some activities can help to shift the focus of the party away from drinking. It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of food and a range of non-alcoholic beverages, especially as some people will not want to drink anyway, or may be under-age.

Make sure everyone gets home safely! An important consideration is to ensure that everyone has the means to get home safely.

You could:

· Remind colleagues in advance that they need to make travel arrangements

· Send a clear message that drinking and driving is never acceptable

· Make sure that groups sharing lifts have a designated driver

· Encourage people to walk home together

· Make sure the party finishes before public transport stops running

· Leave some local taxi numbers around the office.

It can be hard to strike the right balance between fun and safety. With a little preparation though, you can give your employees the celebration they deserve!

If you are in need of emergency assistance over the Christmas period, then please call Larry on 07977511191

From all of us at Ryder Partnership:

Have a safe and Merry Christmas
& See you in 2024!