Preparing your business for winter

Protecting your business this winter

Preparing your business for winter

With the winter months upon us, snow, ice, and rain may not feel like a threat to your business, but they are often responsible for insurance claims, especially when extreme weather hits.

From frozen pipes and water damage to employee health, safety and wellbeing, there are many risks to consider that could potentially affect you. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the added risks and consider ways in which you can be proactive to help mitigate these.

That’s why we’ve put together some information on areas you might want to consider, for your weather-related risk management strategy.

preparing your business for winter

Ideas to mitigate winter risks

1. Mitigate the risk of slips, trips and falls 

Slips, trips, and falls can happen all year round, but the level of risk increases during periods of winter weather. Incidents cannot only cause an employee harm, but can affect work schedules, cause employee absences and in turn client relationships. We recommend that you carry out a detailed risk assessment, to highlight all the potential areas that may increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls in your own buildings. For example, any stairs, slopes, or flooring should be reviewed, along with lighting, because if the lighting isn’t to a good standard, the danger may not be clearly visible. Footpaths and carparks are also very common sites of slip and trip incidents. Following a risk assessment, risk control measures must be carried out. This may include things like installing handrails, flashings, anti-slip coverings, filling in holes or levelling uneven surfaces. For more information on slips, trips and falls risk management, read our blog here.

Alongside this, having robust Liability cover can help cover the cost of compensation, if any employee or member of the public is injured as a result of your business activities. This ensures your business can continue to operate, even if a claim is made.

2. Employee wellbeing

An important consideration that goes hand in hand with identifying health and safety hazards in the workplace, is supporting employees with their wellbeing and mental health. Despite the festivities that typically take place, the winter months can bring many challenges to some employees. According to NHS inform, around 2 million people in the UK experience seasonal affective disorder, which could incite low moods, irritability or amplify feelings of loneliness. Fostering employee wellbeing can help to prevent stress, create positive working environments, and keep productivity high. You could support your employees by:

  • Having a member of staff or mental health first aider, who can offer a non-judgemental ear
  • Helping to tackle loneliness by strengthening relationships between colleagues and giving them a sense of belonging and community. This could be done through activities like team building days
  • Create inclusive festivities like award ceremonies, which can boost morale and engagement across the business

We also have some free resources available for you and your employees to help you to take steps to look after your wellbeing. You can download them here.

3. Form a flood preparation plan

During the winter months, the frequency of rain and windy weather increases meaning it is vital to prepare for weather related events which could cause interruptions to your business operations. Preparing for a flood ensures you have some protective steps in place that can help your business both before and after a flood. For example, you could set up notifications for flood warnings and keep a list of useful contact numbers that you may have to contact in the event of a flood. These contacts could include suppliers or your insurer. You could also create an emergency flood kit with torches, spare batteries, waterproof clothing and first aid kits. Alongside these, regular maintenance should also be carried out to your drains and gullies, especially during Autumn and Winter when fallen leaves can cause blockages. For more tips on how you can formulate a flood plan, read our blog.

4. Make a storm or flood loss recovery plan

No matter how extensive your planning procedures may be, sometimes the worst can happen, and your business may experience weather related losses. For example, torrential rain may cause your ceilings to leak or even collapse. Therefore, it is always best practice to prepare for the worst. To do this, an action plan should be created which includes steps to take should disaster strike. Some things that could be included in the action plan are:

  • Move undamaged goods/stock away from damaged goods/stock, as this will help to prevent contamination.
  • If your premises will be left unattended, make sure it’s secured to prevent further loss or damage.
  • If possible, reallocate internal resources from unaffected areas of the business. This may help you to maintain future sales.
  • Contact your insurance broker as soon as possible. They will be able to either provide advice or point you in the right direction for specialist advice.

For more storm or flood loss recovery tips you can visit our blog by clicking here.

5. Prepare for business interruption

In more severe cases, you may have to pause business activities for longer periods of time. For example, if your business experiences a severe flood and you are unable to trade from your premises. In these instances, business interruption insurance can prove very useful. A robust Business Interruption policy, which insures weather related perils, will provide funds to cover financial losses, such as:

  • Additional staff costs
  • Loss of revenue
  • Loss of rental income

Whilst the building itself and the contents within it are usually covered by buildings and contents cover, your operational costs and expected income are not. Having insurance protection in place can allow your business to recover from a disaster.

For further information of Business Interruption Insurance, you can visit our page here.

We can help protect your business

Barnes Commercial can help with all your insurance needs. We can help to future proof your business, by offering a range of insurance programmes that may come in handy during the winter months. These may include Employers and Public Liability, Business Interruption Insurance, Loss Recovery Insurance and Fleet Insurance, along with many more. To find out more about the covers we can offer click here.

Alternatively, you can call us on 01480 272727 or send an email to enquiries@barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk to speak to one of our experienced advisers.

Nick Long

Authored by: Nick Long

Head of Insurance

16th January 2023

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