A small business spring cleaning tip sheet
It’s finally happening! Winter is giving way to spring. It may feel like everything is bound to get better from here – barring a late-season winter storm – but remember that Canadian winters can take their toll on business property, equipment, vehicles, and, well, motivation. Your small business spring cleaning plan can help you make the most of the warmer months ahead with a safer and more efficient operation.
Where to focus your cleanup?
Spring cleaning can go farther than a bit of dusting and de-cluttering. Why not greet the new season with some polished procedures and fresh routines to help safeguard your business property, people, and vehicles? Here are four key categories and some relevant questions to help you determine any hazards, risks, or places in your workspace (or daily to-do list) that might demand some closer attention.
Protect your property
Careful attention to your buildings and other business premises can greatly reduce your risk of accidents, claims, and losses. In fact, property loss is among the most common business pitfalls: in 2017, $4.2 billion was paid out to Canadian businesses for property damage claims.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:
- Do you have enough fire extinguishers and are they serviced annually? Are employees properly trained to use them?
- Are there any areas your sprinkler system doesn’t protect?
- Does your alarm system fully protect your property?
- Is the system properly protected from tampering (think motion sensors, phone line protection, or cell phone back up)?
- Have you installed lighting in areas that could be targeted by thieves?
- Do you sell any items that thieves typically target? If so, how are they protected?
- Have you taken steps to discourage employee theft?
In 2017, $4.2 billion was paid out to Canadian businesses for property damage claims.
Minimize your liability
The type, frequency and complexities of your work impacts customer satisfaction, faulty work claims, and accidents. Of course, the people completing the work also play a big role in safety and loss prevention, and when there’s room for error, there’s room for liability coverage.
When determining your liability risk, consider questions like:
- Do your safety and emergency procedures need updating?
- Are your stairs, carpets, elevators, escalators, and walkways in good repair?
- Do you have sufficient outdoor lighting to prevent slip and fall injury?
- Do you have a quality control process in place to detect defects in design, manufacturing, or marketing (like improper labelling, inadequate instructions or lack of warning label)?
- Is sensitive data of employees and customers (both physical and electronic)properly secured?
Keep vehicles (and drivers) safe
No matter the size of your fleet of vehicles, proper training and maintenance should be at the top of your to-do list. Even if you have only one vehicle, looking after it and training employees on how to use it is extremely important: distraction, speeding, and lack of experience are three top causes of collisions that result in injury of death.
Fortunately, many of the risks on the road can be mitigated with regular inspections and smart protocols. Here are some questions to help you address and rejuvenate your vehicle and driver safety program:
- Do you have a written policy in place for authorized employees who drive company vehicles?
- Do you have a vehicle maintenance schedule – and a pre-trip inspection routine, if required?
- Do you have a training program to ensure your employees have the information they need to stay safe?
- Do you have the proper protective gear for employees? Is it in good condition?
- Has your industry changed or created any new training programs?
- Have you reviewed all accidents or near misses? Does the data show that changes need to be made?
- Do you regularly perform quality control inspections to make sure your building and equipment are safe for employees?
- Does your business comply with all safety legislation?
- Are employee workstations ergonomically laid out to avoid workplace injuries?
Distraction, speeding, and lack of experience are three top causes of collisions that result in injury or death.
Update your insurance policy
If you’re kicking off the season with some changes, updates, or upgrades to your business, you may want to revisit your insurance policy to make sure your coverage still applies – and you’re only paying for what your business actually needs. Consider these queries when going through the fine print:
- Have you reviewed your claims from last year? Do you need to make any changes to ensure these claims won’t happen again?
- Have you looked over your policy to verify that you’re properly insured and that you have the right coverage amounts?
- Have you reviewed your company vehicle(s) coverage to ensure you have the proper amount of support?
- Has your industry or company undergone changes in the last year that could affect your insurance?
- Do you need to add, remove, or switch your policy’s coverages?
- Do you have up-to-date records of your current inventory and any recent equipment purchases?
Some of these questions may be tough for you to answer as you work through your small business spring cleaning plan. No problem – that’s where your insurance broker can help! Take a closer look at what else these professionals bring to the table.