Protecting your business, employees and customers against harsh winter weather
16th January 2014
... Comments

The recent severe storms and flooding have devastated parts of the UK. News reports depicting the devastating effects extreme weather can have, plus the severe weather warnings that remain in force signalling danger to life, serve as reminders of the importance of being prepared. As the cost of damage to households and business is still being counted, what can businesses do to protect themselves against the destruction and disruption recently witnessed?


With further periods of bad weather expected, monitoring local weather forecasts or the Met Office website for any warnings is a basic but fundamentally important way that businesses can prepare. Also having a well-rehearsed emergency procedure for staff to adhere to can ensure all employees will follow the same protocol and be safe in the event of an emergency. This will further help to reduce confusion which can easily occur. Having up to date staff contact information is essential for this to work efficiently. If business premises have to close then it is advisable to create and implement a plan to ensure the continuation of service to customers. Having a working-from-home procedure in place for staff will help minimise the impact on the business and its customers.


Colder temperatures can create especially hazardous conditions which increase the risk of injuries. Snow and ice are the main culprits, in part because it can be very difficult to locate ice on pavements, especially those covered by snow. It is vital that the pavements, passageways and entrances that employees or customers use are gritted and entrance halls or foyers are kept free of water to minimise the risk of slipping and injury and to prevent the build up of ice. Additionally, it is the responsibility of commercial property owners to remove excessive snow to prevent injury. If the premises are rented, speaking to the property manager to ensure a removal programme is in place will further help to prepare for these conditions.


When temperatures do drop staff can be at risk of hypothermia, which is not solely caused by direct exposure to freezing temperatures. This can occur in any environment that saps the body’s ability to warm itself. For employees working outdoors it is an employer’s duty to ensure that they are wearing proper cold-weather clothes and shoes. For employees that are desk based, employers also have a duty to comply with The Workplace Regulations 1992 by making sure the working environment temperature is at least 16 degrees. 


Lastly, after the winter has passed, continuing to conduct regular, preventative maintenance checks and updating emergency procedures to adjust for different seasonal hazards can make all the difference. Many insurance claims occur due to foreseeable weather events. It is always better to take the time to plan how to contain these risks before an event rather than attempt to deal with a crisis without proper forethought or preparation.


By Ian Sandham


About the Author


Member since: 23rd September 2013

The dedicated team at Bluefin Bath provides specialist independent advice on business insurance, home & motor insurance, wealth management and financial planning.

Popular Categories