Winter will be here soon. In Connecticut, that means bitterly cold temperatures, snow, ice, and strong winds. Start taking proactive steps now to prepare your business for winter storms.
Get Your Facilities Ready
Inspect your building for existing problems that could lead to serious structural damage if a major winter storm struck. If the roof has damaged or missing shingles or leaks, get them repaired now. Otherwise, several inches of snow could cause roof leaks and water damage inside the building, or the roof could collapse.
Cold temperatures are another common source of problems. Insulate pipes to prevent freezing. Check the building for drafts and replace weather stripping, if necessary, to keep employees and customers warm and to keep your utility bills in check.
Water from snow and ice can cause slip and fall accidents that can result in serious injuries and expensive insurance claims or lawsuits. Make sure you have at least one-floor mat to a place near each door.
Put Plans in Place
If your regular maintenance staff can’t handle snow removal themselves because of the size of the property or because you don’t have the necessary equipment, contract with a local snow removal company. In addition to plowing your parking lot and removing snow from walkways, make sure there is a plan to rake large amounts of snow from the roof and to deal with ice on the ground and icicles hanging from the building.
Inform workers of the company’s winter storm plans. Tell employees in advance if they are considered essential and will have to report to work no matter what, or whether they can work from home or modify their schedules. If you plan to close your business for the day or think you might tell employees when you will make that decision and how they will be notified. If you have staff report to work and then decide to let them leave early, don’t wait until road conditions have gotten so bad that traveling is dangerous.
Make sure all supervisors and employees understand their responsibilities when it comes to preparing for and dealing with winter weather and communicating with other team members. Check that you have up-to-date contact information for all employees, outside businesses providing storm-related services, utility companies, and your insurance carrier.
Get Insurance Affairs in Order
Even if you take precautions to protect your building, it or its contents may be damaged by a severe winter storm. Filing an insurance claim will be easier if you have records and photos of damaged items. Take some time to create or update your inventory.
Now is also a good time to review your business insurance and make sure you have adequate property and liability coverage. If you need business insurance, or if you are thinking about switching companies to get better coverage or lower rates, Petruzelo can help you compare options from several top insurers. Contact us today to get a quote.