Keeping your head above water - Combating the rising tide of extreme weather events

Combating Extreme Weather

Combating the rising tide of extreme flooding.

Throughout recent years large parts of the UK have experienced widespread flooding, and workplaces up and down the country were thrown into chaos. This has led to many suffering from severe damage to their premises and stock, as well as major disruption and even financial ruin.

In the period of November 2019 alone The Environment Agency issued 147 flood warnings in England after extreme rainfall increased river levels, causing severe disruption.

New research from the respected journal Science Advances has also found that due to the effects of climate change, there will be a significant increase in flooding in the coming years from storm surges and heavy rainfall.

Flooding causes an unquantifiable amount of disruption to businesses. This can be from the obvious flood damage, as well as endless other problems including employees not being able to get to work and contending with the insurance firms that can jeopardise the future of a business.

The Federation of Small Businesses conducted research on this very issue and managed to highlight the main problems caused by the most recent flooding. The FSB found that 32% of small businesses in flood-hit areas experienced reduced demand for their services, 29% suffered transport and delivery disruption and 16% were affected by staff absences.

For organisations in premises that are classified as a flood risk, or those that are heavily reliant on good weather, it is vital that a business continuity plan is in place so that the business in question can continue to carry on as usual when the severe weather hits.

The health & safety of employees is of paramount importantance when creating the continuity plan, and always remain a priority. This includes precautions such as making sure gas and electricity supplies are quick and easy to isolate or ensuring that your employees have the correct equipment and clothing to operate safely and efficiently in the extreme weather.

The other focus of the plan needs to be how to minimise damage, perhaps by using sandbags, water pumps and flood barriers, which can all help counteract the amount of water entering the premises.

Contingency planning is also essential and in today’s technologically reliant world it is often possible to switch telephone systems to temporary office spaces and work remotely using laptops and mobile phones.

It is also important that you decide how to communicate with employees, customers and suppliers, and designate individuals to initiate the communication process to staff, in the event that you are unable to access your premises.