Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 16 Dec 2019

Winter is coming…Get prepared!

Winter weather in the UK is notoriously unpredictable and, as most of us know, can lead to serious and sometimes devastating consequences from snow, ice and low temperatures, all of which can have serious impacts on your business, organisation and workforce.

Potential insurance claims caused by inclement weather are wide ranging but typically include property damage losses such as burst pipes and flooding, as well as the loss of revenue as a result of a business or organisation having to close its doors to customers or pause production lines for an extended period whilst repairs or refurbishment is carried out.

Cath Swindells, Risk Management Director at Griffiths & Armour commented

“property damage is quite rightly a huge concern for all organisations when hazardous weather is upon us but recent statistics have also revealed an upward trend that shows an increase in employers’ and public liability insurance claims following injury from slips and falls in wintry conditions. So as part of our ongoing risk management service to clients, we have been providing a number of proactive and relatively straightforward precautions they can implement to significantly reduce the risk of a loss, and mitigate the impacts of costs should they occur. Over the years we have witnessed that often simple measures such as regular building maintenance, gritting footpaths and lagging water pipes undertaken by our clients have contributed to a reduction in accidents, minimising the risk and reducing costs and losses which can occur during winter months”.

Our Risk Management team have published a comprehensive risk guidance document on Winter Weather Precautions for all Griffiths & Armour clients, which is available to download via our online RMworks risk management platform, providing clients with advice on loss prevention and mitigation from ice and snow, burst pipes, flooding and high winds. If you are a client and do not yet have access to the RMworks platform, please contact the Risk Management team who will be happy to assist with providing you with your login details.

Do you have a vehicle fleet or employees who rely on driving to their place of work?

The risks of a harsh winter go beyond the traditional office car park, office building or damage to property. For employees driving to and from work, or if your workforce spends a large proportion of time behind the steering wheel, driving in dangerous snow and icy conditions could invariably lead to an increased frequency of accidents and claims, particularly those caused by skids and loss of control of your vehicle.

Simon Stafford, Risk Management Director at Griffiths & Armour commented

“our advice to clients is where possible, avoid driving in these conditions by postponing meetings, using other means of communication such as conference or video call, or travelling by public transport if transport updates confirm minimal disruption is being experienced. When there are times a journey is necessary, it is important that a number of precautions are taken to reduce the risk of accidents, which can include taking advantage of technology such as journey and route planning apps and ensuring your vehicle is prepared for the journey. The obvious examples of the latter include tyre pressure and tyre condition as well as clearing any snow from the roof and bonnet, not just the windows. All too often we hear comments from drivers who have experienced travelling on the motorway only to be hit by blocks of snow coming off the car or van in front. Other practical advice includes making sure you carry emergency items such as warm clothing, hot drinks, food, hi viz jackets and hand or pocket sized torch lighting in the boot of the car. Cars are designed to be incredibly comfortable and new technologies such as cruise control can give a sense that cars are easy to drive. This can result in a driver to become over confident or a have a lack of appreciation for the conditions outside of the vehicle. So we also reiterate the importance of drivers constantly thinking about how to adapt their driving style to the road and weather conditions. Examples of this include: smooth gear changes and acceleration; maintaining safe distances from other vehicles; and gently braking well in advance of your stopping point”

Griffiths & Armour have published a risk management guidance briefing document on Winter Driving, available to Griffiths & Armour clients via RMworks, which provides more in-depth advice outlining a comprehensive list of precautions you can share throughout your organisation before and whilst driving in winter weather conditions. As mentioned earlier in this article, if you are a Griffiths & Armour client and do not yet have access to the RMworks platform, please contact the Risk Management team who will be happy to assist with providing you with your login details. If you are not a Griffiths & Armour client but have questions on this article, our Risk Management team will be happy to help. Please get in touch by visiting our Risk Management page.

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