June 30, 2023

Mercantile Safety Checklist

Blue graphic of buildings and businesses

Taking proper precautions for your business and staff members is part of running a successful operation. You may already have policies and best practices in place at your business, but do they cover all of the areas that pose safety risks? Keep these tips in mind and share them with your staff to reduce hazards at your storefront.

Water Damage

  1. Install water leak detection devices within your home/storefront.
  2. Have kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and hot water heater pipes inspected yearly as these pipes are the most likely to leak.
  3. Monitor your water bill — any unexpected increases can be the result of a water leak.
  4. Repair any holes, patchy areas or damaged roof shingles. Small openings in a roof can cause minor leaks that can become a bigger problem in the winter.
  5. Protect your pipes by keeping your building at a moderately warm temperature and turning off any outdoor water systems.

Claim example: The piping within a hot water heater ruptured from overuse, causing a store to have to shut down for four hours.

Slips, Trips and Falls

  1. Repair potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces in parking/sidewalk areas and staircases.
  2. Mop and clean the floors once your store closes to prevent slipping on wet surfaces.
  3. Remove snow and ice promptly. Apply rock salt to sidewalks and driveways three hours prior to and throughout a snowstorm.
  4. Keep rock salt and shovels easily accessible to you and your employees.

Claim example: The piping within a hot water heater ruptured from overuse, causing a store to have to shut down for four hours.

Fire Protection and Prevention

  1. All electric should be on functioning and operational circuit breakers. If there is a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE), Federal Pioneer or Stab-Lok breaker panel at a covered property, USLI requires the breaker panel be completely replaced.
  2. Install and maintain fire, smoke and heat detection devices — preferably connected to a central alarm system.
  3. Avoid using space heaters and overloading extension cords.
  4. Fire extinguishers should be present in all common areas, and they must be serviced annually to ensure their proper function.

Claim example: A fire began at an insured’s premises when an employee smoked a cigarette in the inventory room and then carelessly threw the cigarette into a trashcan. The fire caused $45,000 in building damage and $14,000 in business personal property damage. To repair the damage, the store had to shut down for a month, causing an $18,000 loss in income and $12,000 in extra expenses to get the store running again.

Preventing Theft

  1. Train your staff to identify shoplifting by paying attention to customers and their actions in your store.
  2. Organize store items in designated areas, having most the expensive items near checkout so they can be monitored more easily.
  3. Set up mirrors or install security cameras around the store.
  4. Lock up larger or more expensive items.

Additional Tips

  • Have adequate lighting installed in all public areas, such as parking lots
  • Set up security cameras to monitor the surrounding area of the building
  • Prohibit armed security guards and weapons from the premises
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