How to minimise business disruption in a power outage

UK power outage advice from insurance companies

a good commercial insurance policy will help, but there is no better approach than being prepared

You may have heard on the news about the possibility of power outages this winter so we thought we would put together some advice for UK businesses in the unlikely event of a blackout to save claiming on your commercial insurance policy.

It is possible you have business insurance in place to deal with a major incident however, as with most emergency planning, prevention is better than cure. It is important to think about how you will keep people safe and how to prevent any impact to your building, IT systems, and machinery in the event of an unannounced power cut.

Good practice starts here:

  • What happens to your equipment if it powers down in an uncontrolled manner? Ensure employees are aware of how to safely shut down and restart plant and equipment.
  • What would happen if the power resumed unexpectedly? Switch off and disconnect equipment where possible to avoid damage from power surges.
  • What is the impact on safety? Think about staff, visitors, and customers who have access to your premises. Think about how they will exit the building without lighting.
  • Avoid using candles due to the fire hazard presented. Keep torches and battery-powered lanterns handy.
  • Consider any risks from staff or customers using entrances or exits not normally in use – are these areas clear from trip or slip hazards?
  • How will you maintain fire and security systems? Does your system provide for 12 or 24-hour battery backup?
  • Ensure your planned maintenance of equipment is up to date to ensure the best protection from unexpected shutdowns and startups.
  • Do you have any critical processes that may require an uninterrupted power supply (UPS)?
  • If you plan to utilise emergency generators, ensure full risk assessments are undertaken and full training is in place for anyone who may be involved in using them. If you are storing fuel on-site, ensure this is done in such a way as to meet safety requirements.
  • If the power cut is planned in advance, ensure lifts and other plant are not in use at the scheduled blackout time.
  • Keep laptops, mobile phones, and power banks charged where possible.

Whilst the likelihood of blackouts is small, only certain sites, such as hospitals or critical industry will be protected if they do happen. This means that having your own action plan and being prepared is vital to minimise disruption as much as possible.

Whilst the blackouts may only last for a short period, damage to your property or injuries to staff & customers may have a long-lasting effect on your business.  Having a good commercial insurance policy will help to pay for repairs or compensation claims but there is no better approach than being prepared.

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