Now that the BC government is plotting an economic reopening strategy it’s time to take a practical look at how your business can prepare to reopen, with a focus on loss and liability prevention. Let’s review.
4 Important Loss and Liability Prevention Tips to Reopening Your BC Business
1. Abide by All Precautionary Guidelines Unique to Your Industry
You may think that all local businesses are chomping at the bit to reopen, but that’s not the case for some. Why? Because they want guidance from the BC government about how to safely prepare for reentry into the economy. Take hair salons as an example. At press, a number of stylists and barbers have signed a petition to urge the province not to put them back in operation quite yet. The reason, is that the industry does not feel that they have adequate guidance about how to safely proceed. What they are asking for is mandatory safety training along with access to safety equipment and widespread testing for staff.
Each sector has similar concerns as they prepare to reopen, which is prompting the province to provide such guidelines. These guidelines will not only help ensure the safety of staff and customers/clientele but will also help each business mitigate liability risk should the health of an individual become compromised while on-site or during a service visit. As the weeks and months progress be sure to stay on top of the BC Health Minister provided mandates as they apply to your unique industry. If none are yet available, become a leader by encouraging those in your own industry to devise a strict set of guidelines and present them to the BC Health Minister.
2. Educate and Train Staff on the New Protocols
Once safety precautions are in place, train all staff and stakeholders about the new protocols. Begin with a remote online training session prior to the return to shop/office for staff, and follow-up with an on-site presentation (when permitted) where you can physically demonstrate how to apply social distancing and sanitation best practices. Provide each staff member with digital documentation of these safety procedures, and post instruction and reminder signage throughout the commercial space. Lastly, be sure to deliver follow-up training sessions as updates to safety policies are made. The latter is especially important as things will change as the weeks and months progress.
3. Educate Customers/Clients About New Protocols
Your customers/clients need to be updated in the new safety policies, not just so they gain peace of mind as consumers, but so they too know how to conduct themselves. Think of the new protocols as you would shop floor signage that warns customers of a wet surface to prevent a slip and fall. Clear signage helps to reduce your liability risks.
You can already see this in action at “essential” businesses across the province. There is signage in place to ask that visiting customers/clients respect social distancing requirements, along with requests to return home should they exhibit concerning symptoms. Another example is found within our recent article about corporate responsibility and cyber crime. In a well-publicized Coast Capital Savings cyber attack, it came to light that customers felt that they were not adequately warned and educated (by the bank) about how to protect their own accounts from being compromised.
In order to enjoy a successful reopening, without significant cause for liability concern, an integrated effort between the commercial sector and consumer base is required. Apply this methodology to your up and coming protocols, ensuring that all parties (customers/clients included) know what to do, and what not to do, when engaging with your business.
4. review your Commercial Insurance policies
Here’s to a successful return to business for 2020 and beyond!