December 10, 2014
With the holiday season in full swing, the cold weather has arrived and so will the fun stuff it brings to the Delaware area this time of year. After last winter’s record snow falls, you might think we’re due a break. Well according to the Farmer’s Almanac that’s not to be. They predict that we’re in for another cold, wet and snowy winter.
Now is the time to prepare your business for what lies ahead. Maintaining and providing a safe work environment is just one of your many worries, so here’s a quick checklist to help you get back to business, as usual.
Top 10 Tips to Safely Maintain Your Business Space This Winter:
- Schedule Fire Drills & Build an Evacuation Plan – Any fire is dangerous. Knowing what to do is key to surviving a fire emergency. Conducting routine fire drills will give you and your co-workers the knowledge and confidence to escape safely. Fire extinguishers should be routinely checked. To schedule your fire drill today, please feel free to call our Operations and Maintenance Department today at 302-323-9300 Ext. 18.
- Monitor Your Space Heaters – Portable space heaters can pose a major workplace safety hazard. Educating employees about safe space heater practices can reduce the risk to employees and facilities. Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard and be sure NOT to 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– Installing quality door mats at your entry way will help keep the dirt, snow and mud outside and clear of your interior walkways. Reducing water, mud and slush that’s tracked into your business reduces the possibility of slips, falls and injury at your work space. Protect your employees and customers.
- Salt & Treat Your Entryway– Using an ice melting mix solution (such as salt) 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.
- Avoid The Office Thermostat Wars– Consider setting a standard office temperature and name 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 also throughout the entire 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.
While some of these areas touched upon may fall outside of your immediate control, keeping aware of what it takes to be safe during these next few months can be empowering.