Editor's Articles

Winter weather

The winter period can present a lot of challenges to business owners, especially extreme weather that can cause damage to premises and disruption to your trading. Insurance policy Wrapped offers its top tips to stay safe this winter

Every year as the winter approaches this question of ‘should we clear snow and put down grit or not?’ is still debated.

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice from the pavement, but it is an offence to clear snow and ice onto a road or pavement. Your duty of care concerns reasonably practicable tasks. Effective snow and ice clearance is safer than not clearing, which means you are unlikely to be held responsible for falls.

The Government issues the following advice for clearing snow and ice:

- Do it early in the day - it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow

- Don’t use water - it might refreeze and turn to black ice

- Use salt if possible - it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)

- Use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt - it will provide grip underfoot

- Pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways - using more salt may help

There are also a number of other things business owners can do to keep premises disaster free this winter:

Check your boiler has been serviced
Freezing temperatures will put strain on your boiler by forcing it to work overtime after the warmer months. Parts often fail in winter and it’s important to keep on top of any potential issues by having an annual boiler service. This will pick up on any issues early on – not to mention a costly emergency call out fee if there was a problem. Importantly, only use a registered gas safe engineer. You can find one at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

Ensure pipes are insulated
Burst pipe claims (often referred to as an ‘escape of water’ in insurance policies) can be hugely expensive and disruptive. There is not only the cost of repairing the pipe itself, but replastering ceilings, redecorating, replacing damaged contents including stock and appliances and can all result in a significant bill.

More importantly for your business, you could be left without a permanent premises until it has been sufficiently dried out and repaired, which could take months.

Insulating your pipes with foam or rubber tubes will help protect against the elements, and leaving the heating on for longer periods of time will ensure the temperature doesn’t drop too low

If the worst does happen, and you experience a frozen pipe, switch off the water supply at the stop tap. Check to see if the pipe has burst, then open the affected tap so that water can flow through it as it is melting. Using towels soaked in hot water or a hairdryer on a low setting may help warm the pipes up, but never use a naked flame to achieve this.

Check the roof
Snow can put a lot of strain on an old roof, particularly if it is in poor condition. You should consider having your roof surveyed at least once a year if your premises is an old property or have experienced water leaks in the past; it can help identify problems before the cold weather begins and identify other issues, such as unstable chimneys or loose tiles.

Arrange insurance cover
While the above are all useful measures to take in protecting against the cold months, it's impossible to protect against all scenarios. Having comprehensive insurance cover in place will ensure that if something does go wrong, you won’t be left out of pocket.
Ryan’s ‘Wrapped’ specialist Fish & Chips insurance policy, designed by the industry for the industry, gives you the peace of mind in knowing that your business is properly protected and your claim will be dealt with rapidly should the worst happen.
For more information about Wrapped or a free no obligation quotation, talk to the Ryan’s team today. Tel: 0800 093 3018
Email: wrapped@ryans.co.uk


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