As the line goes, “winter is coming”. Here’s how to get your facility ready for the challenges that winter can bring, including cold temperatures, ice, snow and winter storms. A little preparation can help you get through winter with as little damage or wear and tear as possible.
First things first—take a look at your heating system. After all, you’re going to want to maintain your indoor temperatures in order for your equipment and employees to function optimally. If you do your own maintenance, now is the time to look for worn or damaged parts and clean out accumulated dust or dirt. If you use a service, it’s time to schedule a cleaning. Be sure to test your generators to make sure they’re operational and ready to take over if necessary.
Prepare outdoor machinery
For any machines that need to operate outside in the cold, it’s time to winterize them too (consult the manuals as needed).
- Make sure your equipment has enough gas.
- Fluids may need to be changed or topped off.
- Remember that some machines need to run a while to warm up, so plan for this extra time in your daily winter routines.
Walk through your parking lot and look for any damage that will be exacerbated due to ice and snow and have it repaired now. Check your trees and take down any broken or cracked branches, as those are likely to cause trouble should you get a snow or ice storm. Look for branches that may have grown over power lines and trim them back. Once winter sets in, this kind of work can be difficult to do.
Emergency and maintenance plans
Develop an emergency winter storm plan.
- Decide who is responsible for keeping your sidewalks and entryways clean.
- Do you have a power outage backup plan? Decide ahead of time at what point your facility will shut down, and under what conditions you will continue working.
- Ensure your employees understand these guidelines, and review any policies about missing work due to bad weather.
- All manuals and emergency plans should be in easy-to-find locations—even if you lose power—and have copies in multiple locations.
Send the winter maintenance plan to your insurer. This has two benefits: first it will ensure that your plan covers all the areas required in your policy and second, it’s possible your plan can help reduce your insurance premiums. Keep records showing you have enacted your plan for at least three years.
In case of accidents
An effective winter maintenance plan should allow an insurer to deny any injury claim. But if an accident does occur, be sure to conduct a full investigation to identify the root cause of the incident, review whether the procedures in the plan were sufficient, and demonstrate that you did all that was reasonably expected of you.
Taking a little time to prepare for winter can save you thousands of dollars (or more in case of a lawsuit) and keep your facility up and running all winter long.
For more information on preparing your facility for seasonal emergencies, contact Vanguard Resources.