As more non-essential retail stores are reopening their doors and becoming accustomed to the ‘new normal’ there is still a great deal to be done. Alongside the initial considerations for reopening, such as instilling social distancing measures along with implementing areas for hand sanitising, it is important to also consider maintenance of the building itself.
Throughout lockdown, many stores they have been left empty and unused, therefore potential health and safety hazards may have arisen. It is imperative for both employee and visitor safety, that required inspections and maintenance checks are carried out when your store is newly reopened.
Here we will discuss some maintenance tasks which may need to be considered for newly reopened retail stores.
In the time of extended closure, areas of statutory compliance may have lapsed. This can involve aspects of your property such as the fire and electrical compliance, lifts and escalators and scheduled water checks for Legionella.
Not only can the lapse of compliance lead to potential fines or even a criminal punishment, but it can have serious implications on the health and safety of anyone on the premises. It is important to ensure that prior to reopening that all compliance checks are up to date.
Clean environments are more important than ever, and prior to reopening, in order to avoid disruption to your business, you should consider a commercial deep clean. This will clean both the internal and external aspects of the building, ensuring that it is ready for employees to return to work.
In addition to a deep clean, it is important to have regular cleaning scheduled, along with hand sanitising stations available for both employees and visitors during the day. Sneeze guards should be implemented where appropriate, and PPE worn if needed.
It’s important to ensure all electrics are in working order and comply with laws and legislations. Employing qualified personnel, such as those at property maintenance company MSL Property Care Services, to check your electrical equipment as part of planned maintenance schedules will help to ensure continued compliance and safety within your business.
Whilst there are no official guidelines requiring inspections of HVAC systems after a period of shutdown, it is good practice to reinstate your maintenance programme and clean the HVAC system before use to remove any bacteria.
Water systems that have been left unused for a long period of time can be at risk of developing the Legionella bacteria; this can be potentially fatal if inhaled as it can lead to the development of Legionnaire’s disease. The bacteria can develop in water systems when it reaches a certain temperature, and in light of the warm weather currently in the UK Legionella and water systems inspections are important.
If you are in any doubt, consult a professional or Public Health England.
It is important that guidance from the government is continued to be followed after your store has reopened, inclusive of social distancing and hygiene measures. PPE should also be worn where required.