Checking your premises after a flood
For business owners, the impact of flooding can be severe.
If your business has been hit by a flood, we understand that this is a stressful time – so we've compiled this guide to the steps you should take immediately after a flood.
Flood water is dangerous so it's important not to take any unnecessary risks if your business has been flooded.
If at all possible, you should avoid coming into direct contact with flood water, which can contain sewage, chemicals and diseases. Remember these three important steps:
- If you really do have to go into the water, wear protective clothing like waterproof gloves and rubber boots
- Beware of hidden dangers under the water, like sharp objects or uncovered manholes
- Always wash thoroughly after any contact with flood water, and remember to wash all safety clothing too, to help stop bacteria breeding
As a business it is your responsibility to consider the safety of your employees, the general public and any contractors who enter your premises, even after a flood.
You must also comply with your duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when staff are carrying out work activities that they would not normally be doing, like helping clean up after a flood.
For employers, that means making sure, as far as is feasible, that your staff aren’t exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Restoring your utilities
Flooding can interrupt vital utilities like gas, electricity, water and phone lines, so keep a list of important telephone numbers, including your utility providers.
If any services have been cut off, contact your provider, which should be able to give you an estimate of when your supply will restart.
Follow any advice issued by your utility companies and don't try to use any services until you have been advised that they are safe – including tap water, which may be contaminated.
If services are still on you should turn them off at the mains, as long as it is safe, in case of further damage to your property.
If you have turned your services off, don't turn them back on if you think they may have come into contact with flood water. Wait until they have been checked by a qualified gas engineer or electrician.
Collecting proof of flood damage
If you are going to claim for flood damage on your business insurance policy, your insurer will need evidence of the damage that has been caused before they pay out.
They may want to send someone (loss adjuster) to visit your premises, but if there has been widespread flooding, this could take a few days.
In the meantime:
Take plenty of photographs of the damage
- Do not dispose of anything that could be fixed. Try to store it in a safe place until the loss adjuster has seen it.
- If you have perishable goods, like food, you should try and dispose of them before they become a health hazard, but record and photograph them first.
- If you think your damaged stock may be a health risk, you should contact your local authority. They can send out an Environmental Health Officer to inspect your goods and issue you with a certificate that lists all the damage, which your insurer should accept as evidence of your loss.
If your business has been affected by a flood and you’re insured through us, get in touch at https://www.swinton.co.uk/business/contact/
Published: 8th February 2017
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