Top tips for SMEs to avoid slip-ups this winter

With the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing recently, the focus has been on whether the kids’ school is open or how to get to work safely – but for SMEs the adverse winter weather conditions can also increase the risk of property damage, injury and potential liability.

However, there are things that SMEs can do to avoid any slip-ups:

  • Check pipes are properly lagged: escape of water caused by frozen pipes can lead to property damage and business interruption (especially if it happens while the property is unoccupied over the festive season)
  • Ensure boilers are serviced and thermostats set to keep premises above freezing
  • Make sure key personnel know where the main stop-cock is
  • Carry out regular property inspections – and use properly trained professionals to repair any damage
  • Review your business and property risk assessments for staff and visitors with the weather conditions and fewer daylight hours in mind – keeping a formal record of any actions taken to make the property safe to help defend against fraudulent claims
  • Put a crisis plan in place in case any of the above don’t stop the worst happening.

Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Sutcliffe & Co, commented: “This time of year a lot of SMEs are concentrating on the festive season and getting ready to start the new year – however taking time to check premises will help in the long run and hopefully keep the property, employees, visitors and the business safe.

“We would also strongly recommend speaking with your insurance broker to help you with your risk management and to make sure you have the right insurance cover in place.”