Severe weather conditions in the UK seem to be on the rise. As we write, storm Ciarán is battering southern England, hot on the heels of storms Babet and Agnes within the last four weeks. Typical conditions range from heavy rains and floods to high winds and even snowstorms, and all pose significant challenges for businesses.
It’s crucial for business owners to be proactive rather than reactive, and implement effective measures to protect their premises, assets and employees. We have prepared a comprehensive guide on how you can prepare your business for severe weather in the UK.
Preparing for Cold Conditions
- Get a professional plumber to check pipes and joints for leaks and inspect hidden pipes for discolouration.
- Review insulation to protect pipes from freezing and prevent water supply stopcock from stiffening.
- Have your boiler regularly checked or make sure your oil levels are topped up.
- Perform a comprehensive risk assessment for ice, flood and snow hazards.
- Develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) catering for winter-specific conditions.
- Check manufacturing processes and materials affected by lower temperatures.
- Inspect roofs, gutters and drains; follow regulations even for external work not involving employees.
- Implement slip-related safety measures, such as gritting, and assess exterior lighting for visibility.
Preparing for Various Weather Conditions
- Heavy Rain:
- Use slipmats at entrances to prevent slips and falls.
- Check guttering for loose connections and blockages and clear debris.
- Inspect sealant around doors and windows for cracks.
- Protect equipment and stock; move valuable items to higher ground.
- Make sure your flood defences are in working order, be they sandbags or barriers.
- Put down sandbags and other flood defences on openings; check seals for gaps.
- High Winds:
- Inspect doors, windows, guttering and roof for damage.
- Secure outdoor items and bring them inside to prevent injuries.
- Use draught excluders to insulate and prevent rattling.
Insurance and Storm Preparedness
- Ensure you have business buildings insurance and consider insuring equipment and stock.
- Keep receipts for all business-related items for insurance claims.
- In the event of a storm:
- Prioritise safety for you and your staff.
- Follow evacuation plans and fit flood equipment.
- Document damage with photographs and contact your insurer promptly.
- Return to your premises only when it’s safe, keeping safety as the top priority.
Severe weather can cause extensive damage, but with careful preparation and attention to detail, businesses can minimise risks and ensure a swift recovery. Stay proactive, stay informed, and implement these measures to protect your business against the unpredictable UK weather.
Please note that this information is for guidance purposes only and should not substitute professional advice tailored to your specific business needs.