September 24, 2015
Sure, the end of summer can be bittersweet. However, I welcome the briskness of cool autumn days and the vibrant colors of changing leaves as far as the eye can see. It’s a nice change from the hot steamy days of summer.
This time of year is perfect to develop a plan to safely maintain your workplace for the approaching weather challenges ahead. Not that I want to drop the ‘snow’ word, but the reality is that at some point in the next few months we will all have to deal with the mess that snow and ice can leave on sidewalks and parking lots. Not to mention, downed powerlines and inconvenient hazards that can make getting to and from work a challenge.
Now is the perfect time to prepare your business and employees for what lies ahead! I get that, as a business owner, your top priority is running your business. That is why we have created this safety checklist to help make sure you’re ready for the season ahead.
Maintaining and providing a safe work environment is important, so here’s a quick checklist to help you get back to business, as usual.
Top 10 Tips to Safely Maintain Your Business Workplace This Winter:
- Schedule Fire Drills & Build an Evacuation Plan– Knowing what to do is key to surviving a fire emergency. Conduct routine fire drills to give you and your co-workers the knowledge and confidence to escape safely. Routinely check fire extinguishers.
- Monitor Your Space Heaters– Portable space heaters can pose a major workplace safety hazard. Don’t take chances; educate employees about safe space heater practices, such as keeping space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways to avoid tripping hazards. DO NOT plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater. Always turn off and unplug every space heater at the end of the work day.
- Install Door Mats at All Entrances– Keep the dirt, snow and mud outside by installing quality door mats at your entry way. This will reduce the amount of water, mud and slush tracked into your business, lowering the possibility of slips. Protect your employees and customers. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the law!
- Salt & Treat Your Entryway– Use ice melting mix solutions (such as salt). This plays a major role in reducing slip-and-fall accidents because it reduces ice. Even a light dusting of snow can lead to slippery conditions. Be sure to stock up early, as supplies can be hard to locate right before forecasted winter storms.
- Avoid The Office Thermostat Wars– Consider setting a standard office temperature and designate one person to oversee the thermostat. Be sure to communicate this standard with your employees. To make your case, relay studies on temperature’s effect on worker efficiency!
- Check Your Emergency Supplies– In addition to protecting the physical systems in your building, inventory your emergency supplies. Can your building accommodate every tenant overnight or for multiple days in case of a blizzard? Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets, portable heat sources, a first aid kit and extra food in case you get snowed in.
- Guard your Technology and Data – Costly power outages due to ice and wind can be critical if you fail to back-up all company and client data daily, either onsite or through a hosted, off-site cloud service. Always check to make sure your back-up system is working properly before a storm hits.
- Avoid Electrical Shutdowns – If an outage occurs during business hours, turn off all computers and other equipment as a precaution against the sudden increase in voltage when power is restored. Be sure that all computers and electrical equipment are connected to surge protectors, which absorb excess electrical energy and prevent it from reaching connected equipment once the power is restored.
- Properly Maintain HVAC Equipment– Proper maintenance of all HVAC units will lead to the best possible outcome for your building, not only in the winter, but throughout the year adding comfort, improved air quality, extended equipment life and cutting energy costs.
- Properly Winterize your Roof– The most common cause of winter damage to a roof is the continuous freeze/thaw cycle which can exacerbate any defects in the roof. While certain conditions are unavoidable, making sure you fix any current leaks, faulty flashing, loose shingles or metal sheets can make your roof better prepared to handle the freeze/thaw/freeze cycle. Also be sure to repair and clean out any drains or downspouts.
Harvey, Hanna & Associates, a commercial real estate management company in Delaware, partners with our tenants to ensure that our properties are ready for hazardous conditions. If you need our help or have questions, please contact us today.