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Preparing your business for Winter

Roof

So you’ve had all the snow cleared from your company’s lot. Bravo! But you're not done. You need to make sure roofs and other structures are clear of snow as well. Your best bet is to hire a recognized professional with suitable equipment to make sure your roof and waterproof membrane don’t get damaged. Heavy snow or ice buildup can lead to a number of building issues, including sagging and collapse.

Here are some simple steps you can take:

  • Watch for snow and ice buildup on the roof, balconies and landings, and take action quickly. Don’t let icicles along the edge of the roof get too big.
  • If despite your efforts, you notice thick snow or ice on your structures, temporarily block off the area so no one can park or walk there. Put up posters warning of falling snow or ice.
  • Consider having a permanent snow guard installed at the edge of the roof if you have the same problem every year.

Entrances

Keep the entrances to your building clear to avoid slips and falls by your employees and customers. Remove snow and spread sand or salt on walkways and sidewalks.

Here are two inexpensive ways to make entrances safer:

  • Install non-slip treads on stairs.
  • Add carpets in entrances and high-traffic hallways.

Plumbing

Did you know that pipes are more likely to break in the winter? Keep a close eye on your pipes—a tiny crack can cause water damage in your building if you don’t act quickly.

To prevent frozen pipes:

  • Keep all rooms sufficiently heated at all times, and perform regular maintenance on heating appliances and units.
  • If the building isn’t being used for an extended period, turn off the water main and have someone visit the location on a daily basis.

Gutters and downspouts

A sloped roof needs to be drained to keep water away from the building. However, leaves, tree fruit and other debris can accumulate in gutters and downspouts and prevent water from draining properly. When you add freezing winter temperatures to the mix, water can build up and then seep into the building through the eaves.

Here are two precautions you can take to ensure optimal drainage:

  • Inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts in the fall and spring. Make sure there’s no stagnant water. This can happen when the gutters sag and there’s not enough of a slope.
  • Consider installing curved mesh on your gutters or take other steps to reduce debris buildup.

Commercial vehicles

Drivers need to adapt to winter conditions. Ice can make roads slippery and unpredictable, and snow and wind reduce visibility.

Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on the road:

  • Check the tire pressure on your vehicles regularly. Correct tire pressure improves braking and reduces fuel consumption.
  • Allow more time for travel and notify customers if you’re running late.
  • Check road conditions on the Quebec 511 website or mobile app and change your route if necessary.
  • Be ready for the unexpected: Always keep a snow brush, scraper, shovel, windshield fluid, booster cables and traction aids in your vehicle.

These tips will help you have a safer winter and avoid nasty surprises. Want to learn more? Check out our winter driving tips.

Preparing your business for Winter

Every year, snow, ice, cold, wind and extreme temperature fluctuations cause property damage and injuries. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent incidents. Let’s go on a quick owner’s tour to make sure your company is fully prepared for the risks of winter.

These tips are provided for information purposes only, are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

 

Sources:
Based on the advice of Jean-Jacques Fournel, safety expert