A day in the life of a gritting operative

Gritting | Health & Safety | 22 November

We’ve had the first widespread heavy frosts over the past week or so, and AccuGrit teams were busy out and about gritting our customers’ sites across the UK. AccuGrit was founded by a team with decades of experience in winter maintenance services, but our good reputation relies on our brilliant operational teams taking care of our customers when the temperatures drop. 

So, when the temperature is dropping outside, frost is forming on your windscreen and you are curled up in front of the TV (or heading to the roaring fireside in a pub), what does a gritting operator get up in to in a typical day?

The daily cycle of managing gritting for customer sites begins at 10am in the morning, when the Control Room team analyses the weather forecast data and makes decisions about which sites will need treating in the next 24 hours. The teams of gritting operatives are notified by 11am that they will be working that night and a team leader will hold briefings in our regional depots about the routes their teams will be taking.

After the briefing, the operatives will check and maintain the equipment that is needed to ensure it is operational for the night’s gritting work ahead. They will also run through a rigorous health and safety checklist, emphasising the need for correct PPE and in-depth knowledge of the equipment. The importance that AccuGrit places in health and safety has led to the company being awarded Safe Contractor status in our first 6 months of operation.

The working ‘day’ begins in earnest for operatives at 6pm, when they head out to begin treating sites. The route they will take between 6pm and 6am is carefully planned by the Control Room to ensure gritters are at each site at the optimum time to prevent ice forming. AccuGrit uses the YETI management system to plan and log the work that is carried out. Operators will log into the YETI app to see the sites they will treat and their overall route for the night ahead. The site information includes detailed maps with geo fencing so that the operative can see exactly which areas of the premises need to be treated.

Once they are on the road, the YETI app GPS tracks the gritting teams as they go about their work, and they upload before and after photographs of the sites they attend. This end-to-end data capture is reviewed by the Control Room between 6am and 10am, and it ensures that if query arises from a customer then AccuGrit has all the information it needs to quickly resolve it. At 10am, the forecast data is reviewed for the 24 hours ahead and the cycle begins again.

As mentioned at the beginning, this is a ‘typical’ day in the life of an AccuGrit operator, but the arrival of snow or other dramatic weather means the work might turn to reactive gritting or snow clearing. In this case, teams may revisit sites and send in snow clearing equipment as needed – anything to keep customer sites clear and safe!