Safe holiday shutdown
Safe holiday shutdown
Is there a mad scramble to finish last minute jobs before you close down for Christmas? If so, it can be hard to have a clear picture of what needs to be done so that everything is secured before you relax and give yourself over to tinsel and bubbles. It’s not just a case of last one out turn the lights off.
Safety and security are so much more on everyone’s radar these days. You know what you’ve always done to close up for the holidays. But take a fresh look just to see if everything really is covered.
Consider whether your premises might be accessible to children over the holidays. Are they likely to be able to do any damage to themselves or your business, for instance, on scaffolding or with equipment? Construction and factory sites are probably already secured with fencing and locks but do you need to think about this for your business?
Don’t tempt thieves. A notice in the front window giving your closedown dates may not be the best idea. Communicate closedown details to clients and suppliers. If you still need to let others know, more generalised signage giving a contact number if the office is unattended might be a better idea.
You have no control over extreme environmental events such as earthquake or flood. But think about whether equipment or other items in your workplace setup should be further secured on a ‘just in case’ basis. You might also subscribe to the Civil Defence emergency alerts or download the Red Cross Hazard app to your phone.
Holiday shutdown checklist
Depending on what kind of business you have and where it’s situated, some of the following may be overkill. But take a minute to review. Brainstorm with your team to tailor the best approach for your business.
- Mail and deliveries: If you don’t have a Post Office box, contact your postal service and regular suppliers to ask them to hold deliveries.
- Alarms: Check fire and intruder alarm systems, sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers.
- Backup: Make sure your server and any laptops and devices have all been backed up.
- Clean-up: Clean out the fridge and empty all bins. Does someone need to pop round during the holidays to put the bins out?
- Emergency contacts: Update your after-hours contacts list. Include emergency contacts and numbers for building services such as plumber, electrician, and locksmith. Copy it to your team, make sure you have it on your phone and display it in a central area of the office.
- Hazards: Remove or secure any flammable materials. Do you need to assess any potential fire or vermin hazards posed by overgrown vegetation or accumulated waste and rubbish on site? Do guttering, spouting or storm water drains need clearing as potential hazards in the event of fire or flood? Prevent access to scaffolds or formwork by removing ladders. Eliminate or minimise potential trip hazards.
- Security: Secure all valuables. Lock tools away. Make sure any vehicles left onsite are locked and the keys secured. Lock any plant and machinery or remove it altogether.
- Onsite access: Have you planned any maintenance, repairs or special projects onsite over the holidays? Make sure that staff responsible for arranging access and any contractors involved are fully informed of what’s required. If any hot work is planned, make sure contractors are aware of and comply with applicable hot work permit and fire protection procedures. Are any staff going to be in over the break? Review procedures for their safety and go over these with them.