Winter Service: Are you prepared?

The past 18 months has seen a huge change in the way we use our roads, the pandemic has meant that less people are using transport and there has been a significant reduction in travel to and from workplaces.

In April 2020, National Rail and London Underground use had fallen by 99% and 96% compared to early-February, while bus passenger numbers plummeted by 88 per cent. On roads, in April 2020, the amount of traffic fell to below 40% relative to levels measured prior to lockdown.

However with the reopening of the country and the increase of travel that is expected to occur over the next few months, it is essential to prepare and ensure you and your team have the necessary training ready for the winter season.

What is Winter Service and why is it important?

Even though road use has decreased during the pandemic , maintaining and preparing them ready for the winter months is still a main priority for local authorities. Every year from April to September, highway authorities plan and implement programmes of maintenance that ensure roads are resilient to the rainfall and freeze and thaw cycles of late Autumn and Winter. 

Often people question why this maintenance begins so early in the year, however Winter Service includes much more than simply gritting roads and pathways. It includes the ability to prepare and operate winter service vehicles, having the knowledge

and understanding of particular hazards and being able to be health and safety compliant. In the UK Road Liaison Group’s Well Managed Highways Code of Practice, it recommends that the Winter Service plan should be reviewed annually in order to contribute to the smooth delivery of the service.

For councils that are facing budgetary constraints, there is a fine balance between managing limited funds and making sure that winter training remains a focal point and of a high quality and standard of delivery with adequate  staffing levels.. The short term costs of effective planning far outweigh the damage that can come from a lack of preparedness in terms of financial and reputational risks should an organisation fail to meet its duty of care.

How Skills Training Centre can assist you and your organisation.

At Skills Training Centre, we offer all of our clients the expertise and support to enable them to meet their Winter Service training needs. We take into account the organisation's health and safety policies so their staff are competent and compliant in their roles. Our experienced trainers and assessors put attendees at ease and ensure they have sufficient knowledge to enable them to operate safely and effectively. We can also provide training for Managers and Supervisors, in accordance with the scheme requirements.

Our aim is to help organisations be proactive and provide them with the training needed  to reduce the number of accidents that could lead to liability claims. It is never too early to start thinking about the season ahead and finalising your training requirements before the maintenance resumes again this year.

Our LANTRA accreditation

Skills Training Centre is pleased to announce that we are able to provide the Winter Service qualification under the LANTRA accreditation. The LANTRA scheme provides significant savings on certification costs, compared to schemes we’ve used previously, the more cost-effective option for already cash strapped local authorities. 

For 2021, there is also the added element of training in a socially distanced and COVID-secure way. The LANTRA scheme offers more flexibility in training delivery besides socially distanced face to face training, the scheme also has the option to deliver the Health and Safety day remotely. This is especially attractive for employers and staff in the current climate.


Skills Training Centre Winter Service courses

The Winter Service qualification is divided into various categories and in order to qualify for the award, an operative must pass the Health and Safety unit and at least one other practical unit.

Winter Service - (Health & Safety): 

This programme is for all those involved with Winter Operations. It is aimed at both existing Winter Service Operatives, who need reassessment to renew their registration and for new or inexperienced operatives who are seeking registration for the first time. For a small additional cost, unit 680 can also be delivered as a Driver CPC course.


Winter Service - Training: 

This course is for all those responsible for operating road gritting machines and snow clearing machinery. It will provide staff with relevant information to enable them to operate the machinery safely and effectively.


Winter Service - Assessments:

Assessments have been developed to assess knowledge and understanding of how to prepare and operate winter service vehicles and equipment. If successful in meeting the required standards assessed, you will be awarded with the relevant winter service certification.


Winter Service - Unit 621 (Manager/Supervisor): 

This course is for all those involved in supervising and monitoring winter service operations. It may also be suitable for duty officers and managers where appropriate. The programme has been developed to ensure that Winter Service Supervisors are assessed against health and safety and other duties that relate to the delivery of effective winter service operations. This service is a stand alone unit that is available to those involved in the supervision and monitoring of winter service operations.

Skills Training Centre are specialists in providing skills and safety training for corporate and public sector organisations across the UK. If you wish to gain more information about our Winter Service training courses or a further insight into our range of additional courses, please get in touch.

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