Snow, ice, wind and more — is your business prepared for all that winter brings? When it comes to running a successful business, safety should always be a concern. As a business owner, you have to think about safety from several different perspectives. How can you keep your employees and customers safe? What about third party suppliers who visit your property? Here at Quincy Mutual Group, we want to help, which is why we’ve identified some major winter hazards, along with tips to mitigate them.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are a concern for business owners all year round — but this hazard intensifies in the winter. Major areas of concern should be all outdoor spaces, such as parking lots, walkways, and outdoor stairs. Make sure these areas are cleared of all snow, and are treated with ice melt, sand, or salt to help create more traction. Indoor areas can also pose fall hazards as people track in snow and ice. Lay down non-slip mats inside all major entrances and put up ‘Wet Floor’ signs as needed.
Frozen Pipes and Power Outages
During winter storms, the risk of things like power outages or frozen pipes can increase. Make sure your business is prepared with an emergency kit filled with items such as batteries, flashlights, water, and a first aid kit. Check all pipes to minimize the risk of frozen or burst pipes. Pipes located near external walls or that are exposed to the elements are at the greatest risk for freezing — wrap them in layers of insulation, make sure your thermostat is set to at least 55 degrees, and if necessary, let faucets drip during periods of extreme cold.
Outdoor Worker Safety
Does your business require employees to work outside? In the winter, proper preparation becomes even more important. Train your employees on the dangers of cold stress and make sure they understand how to identify the symptoms. Analyze work sites to make sure they are safe and discuss proper safe work practices. Make sure you are also providing tools and supplies to combat the cold, such as heaters and proper winter gear.
Winter Weather Closings
Severe winter weather happens — a good example of this is the bomb cyclone we dealt with earlier this month. If weather conditions deteriorate to the point where you feel it’s necessary to close your business, it’s important to have a system in place to alert all employees and customers of this change of hours. Email, phone chains, and social media are all great ways to get the message out quickly and efficiently.
Reducing the Spread of Illness
Illness can be a real productivity killer, especially in the winter. Business owners should emphasize the importance of getting a flu shot, as well as proper hand washing to minimize the spread of germs. Offering hand disinfectant and tissues can also help slow the spread of infection. If possible, consider a work from home policy for employees who are able to work but who may be contagious.
Have more questions about keeping your business safe in the winter? We work with over 500 independent insurance agents who are ready to help! Visit our website to connect with a local agent near you: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent.