With two thirds of Australian companies taking a hit to revenue as a direct result of COVID-19, many business owners are now making the tough decision to temporarily close their doors.
A growing number of organisations are finding that, due to coronavirus restrictions, they have no choice but to rethink the way they conduct their day-to-day operations for the time being. Whether this means bringing business matters to a complete halt, or organising for staff to work from home, your premises may be left unattended for an extended period of time.
These are unusual circumstances and, because of this, it’s important to understand what action you can and, ultimately, should be taking to protect your workplace while it’s left unattended.
As there’s no saying when Government restrictions will officially end, your organisation needs to be both alert and adaptable in the weeks and months to come. The business landscape is ever-changing, even more so given the existing climate; so building a strong approach to risk management is crucial.
Measures for Risk Management
Before leaving your workplace, there are various measures you can take to help keep your business’ premises safe and secure for the foreseeable future.
Steps for improved risk management include the following:
- Waste: Before closing, remove any external waste, pallets or empty skips.
- Waste Bins: Empty and relocate waste bins, ensuring they’re kept at least 10 metres from the building if possible. If waste bins can only be stored closer to the premises, lockable lids are suggested.
- Fire Systems: Check the functionality of any fire and/or sprinkler systems.
- Fire Doors: Make sure that all internal fire doors are closed and secure.
- Building Utilities: Non-essential electrical devices and building utilities ought to be shutdown. In addition to this, non-essential service, gas valves and the like will need to be isolated.
- Inspections: Conduct periodic internal and external inspections of the premises when possible. It is, of course, essential that you take any relevant Government restrictions into account before and during your inspections.
- Physical Security: Ensure that fences, window, shutters, gates and other physical security measures are set-up as required.
- Intruder Alarm: Make sure your premises are equipped with the appropriate intruder alarm system and remote signalling capabilities. By having multiple key holders nearby, your business will have the means to respond to alarm activation quickly.
- Maintenance: Essential maintenance will need to continue, so long as this is reasonably practical given the circumstances. This may involve keeping gutters and drains clear of debris, as well as ensuring remote alerts from Building Management Systems (BMS) receive the appropriate response.
- Dangerous Goods: Make sure any dangerous goods on your premises are stored as usual and that, in keeping them there, they will remain secure.
It’s also worth noting that, if staff members are taking on additional tasks or responsibilities due to a limited employee presence, they must not complete work for which they’re not qualified or trained. This includes tasks that involve operating certain machinery, and working at height.
For any insurance queries this article may have raised, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your insurance advisor or broker.
Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.
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