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A Guide for Business on How to be Productive, Despite Load shedding

06 November 2019 Rob Hodgkiss, Head of Risk Engineering, Bryte Insurance

With load shedding increasingly becoming a challenge for South Africans, the financial cost to businesses can be severe.

Effectively dealing with power outages must be a key consideration for every business owner to ensure minimal interruptions to operations and reduce the impact of losses – financial and otherwise. Staying informed of load shedding schedules is critical, says Rob Hodgkiss, Head of Risk Engineer, Bryte, who has a few more simple tips to help mitigate against the risks presented due to outages.

1. Investing in alternatives – the foolproof way
Having an alternative power supply such as a generator can be invaluable in ensuring that employees can continue to work during an outage. This should at least be able to power computers, servers and a few, necessary lights.

Due to the risk of electrical shock, generators must be installed by qualified electricians and should be situated in a well-ventilated area. Also bear in mind that incorrectly installed generators can pose a fire hazard. What’s more, especially with the rainy season upon us, any generators stored at basement level should be sufficiently elevated to mitigate against the risk of flooding.

2. Don’t be a sitting duck
With crime levels escalating, properties exposed during outages due to non-functional alarm/ other security systems can be sitting ducks. It is therefore advisable to install a backup battery and conduct regular tests to ensure it remains in good working order.

3. Your equipment’s safety blanket
Electrical surges post an outage are very common and to protect valuable equipment and devices, the installation of surge protectors is vital. These are relatively affordable and can save the business thousands in the long run. What’s more, surge protectors can also help mitigate against damage during lightning storms.

4. What’s your back-up plan?
Losing work, one has spent hours on can be immensely frustrating. It is thus important to encourage employees to save work regularly. To minimise interruptions, it is equally important that employees fully charge devices – especially ahead of planned outages – so they can continue working.

Business owners should also consider a cloud storage solution to ensure work is backed up in the event that servers shut down.

On the other hand, a simple uninterrupted power supply (UPS) can be very helpful in keeping computers powered for anything from a few minutes to several hours. This provides a great window for any back-ups but could also keep computers powered, allowing employees to continue working. A basic UPS is relatively inexpensive and also provide seamless, instantaneous switch over.

5. If all else fails…
While there are many precautions that can be taken, this is certainly no guarantee that electrical equipment/devices will remain protected. It is thus advisable to review your insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately covered for possible losses as a result of power outages.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

In terms of vicarious liability, damages should not be borne by companies in all conditions, but only in those circumstances which it is reasonable for them to do so. Do you agree?

ANSWER

Yes, damages should only be borne by companies in those circumstances which it is reasonable for them to do so.
No. If there is a sufficiently close link between the employee’s acts and the purposes and business of the employer, the employer should be held liable for delicts committed by their employees.
As long as the employee is acting within the course and scope of his or her duty… the employer will be held liable.
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