Resuming On-Site Operations After a Shutdown

A caution sign reading "Face Masks Required Prior to Entry" posting in a factory aisleDuring COVID-19, many business buildings have remained idle or are operating at a reduced capacity, leaving some maintenance to fall by the wayside. When not routinely attended, a building becomes susceptible to deteriorating conditions and other issues of neglect. That’s why it’s vital to form a team tasked with reopening the site and inspecting the grounds to make sure it’s safe for staff members. When resuming on-site operations after a shutdown, having a plan in place can ensure a seamless transition.

Recruit a Team to Oversee Resumption of Operations

Even if you don’t foresee resuming on-site operations any time soon, it’s crucial you begin the early stages of your reopening plan by assigning individuals with roles. Depending on the individual’s expertise, you can assign them the task of formulating procedures on how to safely operate during COVID-19, hiring professionals to inspect the building for damage, or troubleshooting equipment to ensure they haven’t suffered any negative effects of neglect. Even if you haven’t shut down, having a reopening team pre-established is important if you need to shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Inspect the Building’s Envelope Before Resuming On-Site Operations

You want to inspect the walls and the roof of the building before returning, as the structural integrity could have been compromised due to a lack of maintenance. Make sure there are no signs of water damage on the walls and ceiling and beware of any cracks or signs of settling in the foundation. Inspect the roof covering and flashing for damage. It’s also important to ensure the gutters are cleared, windowpanes are intact, and there’s no sign of mold. To keep your team safe, hiring a professional inspector is your best option.

Check the Business’s On-Site Utilities After the Shutdown

It likely your utilities were shut off or reduced before the shutdown, but ensuring they’re properly running is more complicated than flipping a switch or opening a valve. Some systems you should focus on when reopening include:

  • Electrical: Your electrical system was likely operating at a reduced load during a shutdown, so it’s required a qualified electrician slowly restore loads to prevent critical damage to systems and machinery.
  • HVAC and Plumbing: These systems likely remained in use at a minimum capacity, yet a professional inspection should be performed to ensure the equipment is cycling efficiently. A water system flush may also be required to remove any potential buildup of mold or bacteria.
  • Emergency Systems: You should perform a test and visual inspection of all your emergency systems, including your smoke and fire detectors, sprinkler systems, and fire pumps. You should also check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers.

For a full list of safety measures, contact your business’s monitoring or utility company. They will be able to tell you what is needed to meet federal and state safety codes and regulations.

Resuming on-site operations after a shutdown should be approached using a collaborative effort. Assigning individuals to tackle each of these tasks should ensure that your operations can run smoothly as soon as you’re permitted to reopen. If you’re able to handle the complexities of reopening after a shutdown, we here at TJ Woods Insurance can ensure you’re protected from any disasters that occur in your absence through our business owner’s policies. If you’re looking to protect your business from unforeseen risks, contact us today.