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Winter: A Risky Business

Winter is fast approaching and for many businesses, the colder weather can bring with it a number of problems. In recent years, the UK has been subjected to some severe weather warnings relating to snow and flooding. It is always best to prepare your business for every eventuality in advance so that any emergency situation can be dealt with accordingly.

Risk assessments, although laborious, are extremely beneficial documents to have should a weather related situation arise. Whilst almost all businesses have risk assessments in place, it is worth revisiting these documents and ensuring that they are up to date and relevant. Proper management in these circumstances will help keep staff on board and motivated; should the worst happen. Click here for all of our services.

Plan Ahead

Check your risk assessments are up to date, talk to department heads regarding their needs should there be a snow storm or flooding. How will you deal with staff that can't get to work? How will you deal with stranded staff? Do you have details for emergency cleaning services or your insurers? Put a contingency plan in place to ensure you have every possible outcome covered.

Stay Up-to-Date

Devise a cold weather plan of action; are staff able to work from home? What should you reasonably expect from them in such conditions? Consult with staff regarding their transport and the feasibility of them working from home. Check the weather and news regularly. Are staff aware of their options should a period of bad weather hit? Ensure all employees have a plan of action and keep them updated. Inform clients and customers of any changes to working hours that will possibly affect them.

Working from home

If working from home is a viable option for your staff, ensure that they are trained on how to access work servers and important documents/contact numbers before a crisis occurs. Working from home is beneficial for both staff and employer - no distractions and travel time is diminished. Have working from home guidelines in place if necessary.

Communication is key - stay in touch with staff working from home. This will keep them motivated and feel included. Skype and email are convenient, but phone calls and even texts help to keep in touch.

Things to note: does your server allow remote access and can this be set up prior to any emergency situations?

Safe and Secure

Ensure your office and data remains safe and secure during any periods of severe weather. Do you have backup generators in case of a power failure? Is your data backed up? Compile a list of insurance, emergency services and staff contact details should the worst happen. Make sure this is available to all who need it in advance.

Check the building over. Is the roof secure and in good condition? Heavy snow can cause considerable and expensive damage to an already weakened roof. Has your boiler been serviced in plenty of time for bad weather? Are your water pipes external and, if so, are they protected from ice and snow? Are portable heaters in good working condition? Keep all stock dry and not on the floor, in case of flooding or water damage as flood restoration could put a dent in your budget.

If your staff are working primarily outdoors, ensure you have plenty of waterproof and warm jackets available, along with gloves and suitable work boots. Provide hot drinks and ensure regular breaks are taken and shifts are rotated.

If necessary, call your insurers as soon as possible, photograph and document any relevant damage and do not dispose of anything.

Stay on the Road

If your staff have company cars, or your business relies heavily on transport, then you need to ensure all vehicles are looked over and prepared for any cold weather. Utilise snow tyres, grit the areas most used, and, where possible, ensure drivers have winter survival packs. Essentials such as a shovel, anti-freeze, de-icer, blankets, shovels and scrapers can prevent a breakdown from escalating. Having a flask of soup and bottled water is also a good idea. Ensure all staff know how to handle their vehicles in extreme weather conditions and are up to date on any training needs.

For all your business needs over the colder, winter months,  Relkogroup is here to help. With everything from cleaning services and flood restoration,  through to safety clothing and boots; get in touch today to see how we can help you stay working safely this winter.