Many warehouses and logistics facilities have to shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic brings a halt to operations. However, risks, and the potential for losses, still remain, even when sites are idle or largely unoccupied. Affected companies should take security and prevention measures. Lee Kok Leong, executive editor, Maritime Fairtrade, reports
According to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (ACGS), there are four main areas of loss prevention measures.
Mitigating fire risk
AGCS analysis of insurance claims shows that fires accounts for almost a quarter (24%) of the value of all business insurance claims over a five-year period. Such incidents have caused in excess of €14 bn worth of insurance losses from over 9,500 claims (not including wildfire losses). The impact of such an incident can be exacerbated if premises are shutdown or largely unoccupied, as the response time may not be as quick.
Measures to consider include regularly inspecting and testing any existing automatic fire detection systems, sprinkler systems and fire pumps as well as other existing fire protection systems, such as fire extinguishing systems, fire extinguishers and fire doors, even if the challenges posed by coronavirus makes this difficult.
Safe storage of combustible materials
Reduce the quantities of combustible materials, such as raw and finished goods, packaging, pallets, waste, dust and flammable liquids, located inside any shutdown buildings, and ensure safe separation distances (1.5 m or 5 ft minimum) are maintained between all electrical equipment and any materials which remain. In addition, all combustible and flammable liquids should be placed in appropriate storage areas (for example, cut-off rooms, safety cabinets).
Services and utilities
Shut down all hazardous process equipment and utilities, including nonessential flammable liquid and gas mains. If operationally possible, shut down electricity for the premises, except where needed for fire alarms, fire protection systems and security systems. Isolate services at the mains and drain all water systems, except water for fire sprinklers and pumps.
Building security and maintenance
Ensure quality deadlocks are fitted on all entry/exit doors and check that all windows are secured. Entry points should also be locked and secured to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the site. All security systems should also be checked and maintained and to shut down all non-essential electrical systems.
Keep only the minimum level of internal and external lighting where appropriate for inspection, security patrols and access purposes. Any breach in building or perimeter security should be immediately repaired. Arrange for a manned 24/7 guarding presence at the site or overnight patrols. Any patrols should be at random intervals and times to ensure any pattern is not observed.