It’s that time of year again!

Changes in temperature can lead to businesses sustaining losses from burst pipes, escape of water and the unexpected weight of snow on roofs. Prevention is better than cure so here are a few tips businesses can take to both prevent and reduce the impact of cold weather on their operations this winter.

During wet weather customers and employees can be subject to injury at work. The safety and wellbeing of your customers and employees should be one of the major concerns and objectives of the day-to-day operation of your business. While not every accident is preventable, there are many precautions you can take to minimise any detrimental impact to your business during bad weather.

Inside your business premises

The entrance and foyer areas to businesses are real hazards in wet weather, and non-slip mats should be provided at all entry doors. These mats should be able to absorb the water from wet shoes and boots so the possibility of slip and fall accidents is reduced.

If the floor in these areas tends to get wet and slippery even with the use of walk-off mats, there are several other precautions you should take to prevent slip and fall accidents:

  1. First, a mop and bucket, along with a good mop will help to keep conditions under control if water starts to build up on the floor. Also, portable ‘wet floor’ signs warning to be used both outside and inside the doors to alert customers and employees of the slippery conditions.
  2. The office manager or supervisor on duty should have the responsibility of checking on a frequent basis to make certain that the area is safe.

Aisles, waiting areas, and toilet floors should also be checked frequently during business hours to make sure they are dry, clear, and free of hazards.

Outside your business premises

Your car park and outside stairs should be your main areas of concern when it comes to the control of slip and fall accidents outside the building during winter.

There should also be adequate lighting for night time use. Rain water should be redirected to a dry well or other area. In the event of snow or ice, make arrangements to have the snow removed as soon as possible.

Fitting security lighting that points at your door or your window to brighten dark areas that burglars may take advantage of.

In periods of cold weather, inspect your premises on a daily basis for signs of freezing.

During heavy snow, look for accumulations of snow on roofs and safely clear anything more than 4-6 inches.

Be prepared!

Make sure you have the following in place so you can react quickly if there is a problem and minimise any disruption to your business:

  • Ensure your heating system is serviced and maintained
  • Make sure you know the location of all stopcocks and check that they are easily accessible and in good working order, in the event of a burst pipe
  • Keep a record of the layout of all the utilities that service your business, particularly water and gas/oil and check now that the pipes are in good condition
  • Assemble a list of reputable local plumbers and boiler engineers and keep their details handy in case you need to call them in an emergency
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