While the UK might be a nation very familiar with rain, flooding goes one step beyond. Many warehouses simply cannot cope with increasingly extreme weather conditions, leading to costly consequences.

The next decade is likely to see double the number of flooding related insurance claims by British businesses. Lack of preparation for this can be devastating. Insurance leaves many people to believe themselves safe. Secure in the knowledge that immediate financial losses caused by destroyed stock and damaged buildings can be safely absorbed. But that is only the beginning. The time your business will lose to replenishing stock and turning workers away while repairs are ongoing, could be ruinous. Not to mention the risks to your reputation and potential loss of clients if you’re unable to deliver on time, if at all.

Many businesses simply do not recover from the perfect storm of disruption and destruction caused by a flood. Insurance is only the first step of disaster preparation. As floods become increasingly frequent, proactive preparation will become essential.

How to prevent flood water damage in your warehouse

By drawing up a flood plan you can cover how you will protect your staff, your equipment and your stock against imminent flooding. It’s also important to prepare for health hazards from water that is contaminated with sewage or hazardous chemicals and electrical risks from wet equipment.

If your business is in a high risk area for flooding you could:

  • Install heavy duty high-rise racking so heavy stock can be stored at height
  • Store paper records on high shelving or on upper levels
  • Park forklift trucks and vehicles at height, such as an elevated loading bay to prevent damage to the engine or hydraulics
  • Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring above ground level
  • Invest in flood guards to be fitted to your external doors and covers
  • Install non-return values to drainage pipe

Be sure to check that any products you buy are compliant with PAS-1188 requirements by looking for the kite mark.

How to keep staff safe if your business floods

If your business floods and staff are in the building, there are a few things you can do to better ensure their safety:

  • Keep staff warm and safe in protective clothing – water resistant overalls and rubber boots can help prevent hypothermia and provide minor protection against electrical hazards
  • Turn off the mains power to reduce the risk of electrocution
  • Follow your flood evacuation plan to get people safely out of the building
  • Maintain hygiene – ensure staff wash their hands and disinfect their clothing in case of contaminated flood water

Flooding is one of the most widespread natural disasters in the UK, by preparing your defences, you can help to ensure that your staff and business are safe and damage control is kept to the minimum. For more information or for help with flood planning, take a look at the government’s guide to preparing your business for flooding.

 

The second most important thing after being physically protected from flooding, is having systems in place to rapidly turn things around in the event your defences are breached. Knowing exactly what stock you have and exactly where it’s stored, will make cataloging any damage done by flooding far faster.

Giving your insurers exact details about what was lost, and knowing what you still have ready and available to sell, could be the information that makes the difference between your business staying afloat, or sinking beneath the floodwater. This is where OrderWise can help. To learn more about our stock control system, as well as all the other services we provide, call us on 01522 704083, or view our resources online.

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