How to reopen businesses after lockdown
AS some businesses still warm up for reopening after the lockdown to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has listed some steps for companies to take.
Its Global Technical & Expertise Manager for Property Risk Consulting, Stephen Clark said: “There may be a reduction in workforce available to operate and maintain production equipment safely or to respond to emergencies.
Also, lapses in maintenance of buildings, equipment and fire protection systems may create hazardous conditions.
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“Businesses should pay particular attention to the condition of electrical equipment and installations, as around 20 per cent to 30 per cent of AGCS fire claims are related to these.
Insurers have also seen a number of claims from fires resulting from technical defects or operational error after machinery has been restarted or cleaned in preparation for reopening of facilities, which has then caused further disruption to operations.”
AGCS’analysis of the industry, however, shows that fires already account for almost a quarter of damages.
It showed 24 per cent of the value of insurance claims in the last five years; faulty workmanship and maintenance took eight per cent and machinery damage of five per cent rank as the third and seventh top causes of claims.
According to the AGCS bulletin Coronavirus: Property, loss prevention measures for restarting businesses after a temporary closure another essential action for businesses to consider before restarting operations is restoring site security.
A self-inspection of the site, including all buildings and equipment, to detect and correct any unsafe or abnormal conditions, such as damage, maintenance issues, improper housekeeping or storage, and signs of vandalism should also be considered.
Businesses should also complete and reinstate any inspection, testing and maintenance that may have lapsed since the shutdown.
When restarting idle machinery, Clark said operators should follow standard guidelines for bringing shutdown equipment or processes back online.
In addition, facilities introducing alcohol-based (flammable) disinfectants, such as hand sanitisers, should implement proper fire safety precautions.
This should include keeping them away from ignition sources, such as open flames, encouraging employees to rub their hands dry to allow vapors to safely dissipate, disposing of all waste rags in approved, normally closed containers, and storing flammables in designated cutoff rooms or approved cabinets.
“Prior to restarting operations is the ideal time to review the effectiveness of your business continuity plan,” says Clark.
He added: “Revise the plan as needed based on lessons learned during the temporary shutdown to keep your emergency planning up-to-date.”
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