Preparing Your Small Business for the Holiday Season
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are quickly approaching! The holidays can help boost business for small businesses, but crowds and increased activity come with some unique risks that small business owners should keep in mind. Being prepared for common small business risks and readying your business for the holidays can help make the season less stressful.
As winter begins, it brings with it winter weather. Snow, ice, sleet, hail and cold temperatures can do a number on your business’ location if the building is not properly prepared. To help keep your employees and customers safe, put the following measures in place:
- Monitor the weather daily during the winter months, and be prepared to coordinate prompt snow and ice removal operations.
- Check the parking lot, sidewalks, outdoor stairs, and entryways throughout the day for possible danger areas that may need to be addressed. Apply proper de-icing products on walkways or isolate dangerous areas, such as large patches of ice, by indicating them with warning signs or closing them to the public.
- Watch for icy spots that arise from water runoff from roofs and downspouts that have re-frozen, as well as icicles hanging over walkways.
- Monitor indoor mats in entryways for buildup of snow and ice melt. Replace the mats with dry mats when they become water logged.
- Check floors frequently for puddles caused by foot traffic, and quickly mop up wet spots.
- Keep your building safe by learning The Cold, Hard Facts About Frozen Pipes.
While your holiday lights may be twinkling, be sure to shed light on areas your customers may not be paying attention to such as walkways, stairwells and parking lots. Shadows or dimly lit areas can cause problems with footing, so make their path easy to navigate.
- A minimum of 1,000 lumens should be used for all lighting, but higher levels may be needed in high-use areas such as bathrooms, dressing rooms and kitchens.
- Lighting should be provided for walkways, parking lots, stairways, hallways and basements. Look for shadows that may be created and adjust lighting accordingly.
- In stairwells, provide a light switch at the top and the bottom of the stairs whenever possible.
- Replace light bulbs and fixtures that no longer work.
For the safety of your employees and customers, paths to exits should be identifiable and accessible. Exits should be properly marked and illuminated in the case of an emergency. If you plan to decorate your business for the holidays, keep these things in mind:
- Keep décor and merchandise out of walkways.
- Place exit signs in a line of sight that is visible from any point in the room.
- Mark doors that are not exits so they are not mistaken as exits.
Having procedures in place for common holiday hazards can go a long way in minimizing risk and maximizing holiday cheer, so don’t forget safety as you prepare for the new season. For more risk management tips, read the Top 5 Holiday Hazards.
© 2019 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.