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How to protect your commercial premises from claims this winter

 

The winter period can present a lot of challenges to business owners all across the country, damage and disruption to your business premises is constantly at risk from extreme weather conditions. Your premises may include areas, such as pavements, car parks and indoor areas which is exposed to hazards including snow and ice that you must keep clear and safe for your customers. Both customers and employees can seek compensation if they were to slip or injure themselves on your property therefore you must be prepared to minimise the chances of this happening.

 

To get started in protecting your premises from claims this winter is to carry out routine inspections of your premises. These inspections should be carried out regularly throughout the year to identify potential risks and undertake the essential maintenance in preparation for the change in weather. Areas such as, plumbing, guttering and roofing should be given special attention as they at more of a risk as well as other public areas exposed including the pavements and car parks.

 

A main cause for concern heading into the winter months for business owners will be the plumbing. As temperatures drop, water begins to freeze and pipes are particularly vulnerable to freezing, when water freezes it expands and this causes pipes rupturing leading to serious leaks and floods. It is important that business owners continually check taps and pipework for any drips or leaks. A small crack in the pipes can bring about a much larger problem during the winter months if the pipe was to burst, it can lead to a business premises being flooded and all stock being destroyed. Start by making sure that your team are fully aware of the location of all stopcocks whether internally or externally so a burst pipe can be somewhat controllable.

 

A common hazard on business premises is the slip accident, this is caused by slippery, treacherous pavements and car parks which surround the premises. During the winter months the weather conditions will cause these areas to become slippery, icy and potentially covered in snow. A business owner must make sure that they clear any paths and car parks with a snow shovel and spread plenty of rock salt on the ground to increase traction for people walking and driving.

 

Regular checks to the roofing and guttering is also vital for a business owner looking after their premises during the winter months. On roofs, they should look out for water penetration and standing water. Also, arranging for a professional to replace a loose, cracked or missing tile to reduce the chances of any accidents occurring. As for guttering, business owners can arrange for regular maintenance checks under contract for tasks, such as, clearing gutters and drains which will be beneficial in the long run. In the winter, harsh winds and heavy downpours can cause leaves and debris to get stuck in the gutters and downpipes. If they are checked out regularly a business owner can be assured that this will limit the risk of blockages that can lead to water penetrating your property.

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