While it may only be the start of fall, the weather in Canada can go from pleasant conditions to freezing temperatures overnight. Cold winters in previous years have left businesses with costly damage and downtime due to burst pipes, collapsed roofs or slip and falls. The winter season can bring adverse weather conditions such as extreme cold, ice and snow. The preventative measures you take now can help your business avoid a lot of problems from occurring when the weather gets colder.
Here’s how you can prepare your company and avoid damage this fall and winter:
- Inspect for any damage or weak areas in the roofing systems of your property and hire a professional roofing contractor to make necessary repairs.
- Verify that the roof drains and downspouts are clear of debris.
- Secure any loose rooftop equipment.
Sidewalks, Parking Lots and Entryways
- Hire a reputable snow removal company before the winter season.
- If you choose not to use a snow removal contractor, make sure the sidewalks and parking lots surrounding your business are cleared regularly.
- Have your snow removal contractor keep a log of all snow clearing activities. If you are clearing snow and ice yourself, be sure to keep a log of all removal efforts including weather conditions and snowfall amounts for each day.
- Keep an inventory of salt, sand, and shovels on hand for snow melting and removal.
- Relocate any materials or equipment located outside your business that could be damaged by cold weather or snow.
- Place a non-slip floor mat in front of your door to encourage visitors and employees to wipe their feet before they come in. Place an extended entry walk-off mat inside the entryway to allow removal of moisture from shoes. This will decrease the amount of snow, ice and water that people can track in.
Inside your Business
- Have your HVAC system inspected for any filter changes or minor repairs before cold weather arrives.
- Install or inspect heat monitoring systems and verify the systems are working correctly. Check that the right temperature is being maintained.
- Make sure that no area of your business – even un-insulated areas – are below 17 degrees Celsius at any time to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Inspect your door and window seals to verify that they remain in good condition.
- Make sure all windows and doors are kept closed when temperatures fall below 0 degrees Celsius.
- Consider insulating pipes that are in areas such as basements or attics.
- Consider investing in a commercial generator to prepare for the possibility of power loss.
Protect Your Workforce
- Consider keeping a winter emergency kit on site in the event of a severe storm, power outage or excessive snowfall. This could include a hand-cranked radio, water, non-perishable food, flashlights, extra toiletries, blankets, and portable cell phone charging banks.
- If possible, consider ways that your employees can work from home on days when extreme winter weather could make it unsafe to commute to the office.
- Outline policies and procedures to communicate to your employees about working from home.
It is important to take proper precautions for winter conditions to keep your business, property, and employees safe. These preparations will help prevent damage and repairs that cause downtime and affect your ability to run your business. We also recommend reviewing your business insurance policy with your broker to understand what your policy will and will not cover in the event that you experience a loss. The expert brokers at Fuse Insurance are here to help – get a quote now or contact us at 1-866-387-FUSE (3873).