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We British are openly mocked for always talking about the weather, but the conditions we’re currently facing are really unusual and if you’re one of our thousands of overseas readers and have seen the news reports, you’ll be well aware that we don’t deal with snow and ice that well! It’s not just the UK that’s been hit by treacherous weather either, is it? Somehow though, everyone else always seems better prepared and more able to cope than we are…
The authorities started issuing warnings for people in the worst hit parts of the UK not to travel some days ago, but these warnings now cover the UK in its entirety. The problem is, some of us have to travel to work as we have responsibilities to others… Cleaners, refuse collectors, delivery drivers, transport workers, emergency services and healthcare workers. I apologise to those groups I’ve inadvertently omitted but you catch my drift…
Facebook friends working in these sectors have been posting pictures of seemingly endless traffic jams together with warnings about hazards to avoid. Robertson Facilities Management’s Kerry Ord, for example, is living in one of the snowiest parts of the North and has faced horrendous problems travelling long distances to work, while sharing warnings with colleagues of roads to avoid because of jams and overturned lorries.
People like this have battled on and hats off to them for having the steely grit to get to the workplace and do a day’s (or night’s) work – sometimes covering for others who couldn’t make it in, knowing that they face a similar battle to get home again.
Sadly, some who’ve made the effort to get to work have come unstuck. These probably won’t turn out to be the only ones but I know of two refuse collectors who’ve been knocked down by motorists – one of whom had only bothered to clear ice from part of his windscreen and thus couldn’t actually see the bin gatherer he ploughed into “at some speed” and badly injured! In the other incident, the man was struck as he was guiding a reversing bin lorry, and a driver who’d initially been waiting patiently, suddenly drove off, hitting the man.
I think refuse lorries should be given ‘school bus’ treatment in the best of conditions, since their teams are particularly vulnerable, but in conditions like these… Anyway, I hope that everyone is mindful and appreciative of those who’ve battled the elements to get to work this week - and if you’re out and about, do stay safe, won’t you?
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1st March 2018