Winter proof your business

2012-08-07 14:09

Cape Town - As yet another cold front is about to hit the country, businesses are advised to take preventive measures against the adverse winter conditions.

The winter chill and subsequent storms bring with them a greater likelihood of flood and fires, so it is worth safeguarding your business premises.

The South African Weather Service has warned of more adverse winter weather just a week after snow and floods closed several roads, damaged residential properties and stranded people countrywide.

"Damage to businesses can be in a number of forms, from loss of data, to structural damage to worse," said Lourens Joubert, head of commercial lines at insurer Santam Limited [JSE:SNT].

"The onus is on the employer to ensure a safe work environment and also to keep employees aware of ways to mitigate damage through each season."

To decrease the potential for damage during the cold winter months, Joubert believes prevention is better than cure, not only during office hours, but also before closing up for the weekend.

Santam offers the following tips to help keep businesses safe in the winter months:


  • Avoid overloading power points or altering the structure of the plugs on existing appliances to make them fit.
  • Fuses may be easy to replace but if a fuse blows or the circuit trips repeatedly, the cause may need to be
  • investigated. If the fuse is replaced, ensure the replacement fuse is of the correct amperage.
  • Faulty appliances, broken plugs, and exposed cords can cause an electrical fire and should be replaced immediately.
  • Extension cords should be used in moderation and monitored so as not to pose a tripping hazard. Cords should either be removed from a thoroughfare or taped to prevent accidental trips and falls.
  • If an extension cord is warm to the touch, it means it is of too low amperage for the appliances attached to it. Check the amperage of these appliances and make sure your extension cord is correct for the amperage loading.
  • Nominate one person to check the office for heating equipment that may have been left on. Make sure heating appliances are at least a metre away from combustible materials such as curtains or plastic containers.


  • Avoid keeping piles of combustible materials, such as papers or newspapers, lying around and keep a fire extinguisher close at hand.
  • Get into the habit of backing up important computer data and keep electrical equipment and computers/servers on a higher level if there is a likelihood of regional flooding.
  • Be sure to install a metal and rubber flap to close up any gaps you may have at the bottom of your external doors. This will stop water from seeping in during heavy storms, which could weaken the foundation of your floors, walls and doors.
 - Fin24

*Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.