In an ideal world, employees should not have to return to a shop job after flooding until the aftermath of the flood has been completely cleared up by a team of professionals. Unfortunately, life is rarely perfect, and workers may well be asked to go and help with the cleaning effort. In this case, it is important for employers to ensure their workers are safe.
One of the first priorities after a flood is to ensure electricity remains switched off at the mains until everything has been sufficiently dried and that wiring, appliances, etc that have come into contact with water have been checked thoroughly by qualified electricians. Failure to do this could result in workers being electrocuted at work.
To prevent employees being injured at work or becoming ill through contact with contaminated floodwater (sewage, animal waste, chemicals), it is equally important for employers to provide adequate personal protective gear, including:
- Waterproof jackets and trousers.
- Rubber gloves.
- Face masks.
Disinfectant must be made available for the purpose of washing hands after touching surfaces or equipment that has been touched by flood water, and employers need to make sure any cuts, grazes, and so on they may have on their hands are covered with waterproof plasters.
Drying the property
Once all the water, mud, etc have been removed and surfaces have been cleaned, the property must be allowed to dry out completely. This can be speeded up through the use of fans; temperatures of between 20 and 22 degrees centigrade (heating appliances and systems must obviously be checked by qualified engineers first) and open windows, or dehumidifiers.
Returning to business as usual
Depending on the type of building and the flood’s severity, this may take anything from a few weeks to several months. Ideally, the shop should remain closed during this period. Financial consideration may, however, mean this will not be possible.
If you were electrocuted at work, slipped in flood water or became ill after exposure to contaminated flood water, you may be entitled to industrial injury compensation. A free phone call to Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 or filling in the compensation calculator on this law firm’s website will clarify whether you are eligible to claim.
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Calls are confidential and obligation free, and claims are conducted by highly skilled, experienced in-house solicitors on a no win no fee* basis.
Date Published: May 1, 2014
Author: David Brown