A strong gust of wind blows the front door open and strikes a customer, causing severe personal injuries. Is this the responsibility of Mother Nature or the owner of the carwash? The easy answer is to blame it on natural causes, but that might not be the right answer.
At your carwash, the unexpected will happen, and it’s nearly impossible to protect against every scenario that could occur. That being said, I believe there are several common hazards that require preventive attention and are too often overlooked. For example, everyone takes precautions to protect their wash when the forecast calls for tropical storms, tornados or hurricanes that can cause severe property damage. But, how many take the time to prepare with the same due diligence when it applies to more common weather forecasts, like heavy winds? Shouldn’t the additional exposure expected by this seemingly non-threatening event receive the same level of regard?
Monitoring the forecast is already a daily task performed by most carwash owners to check for the probability of rain or severe weather. Consider implementing a process that steps up that practice. Include a checklist of potential risks that might pose a bodily injury threat in response to certain weather conditions, like high winds.
The following are tips for protecting your car wash against high winds:
- Be sure that all doors are equipped with a permanent stop device. These prevent the door from being caught by a heavy wind gust and swinging uncontrollably into unsuspecting customers or employees.
- Consider a second means of exiting the carwash as an option for when winds are extreme. Always check the door that is more susceptible to being caught by sudden gusts.
- Regularly check the hydraulics on the door hinge to ensure the safe opening of the door.
- Properly close and secure all umbrellas in preparation for high wind conditions.
- Clear any debris, no matter how small, from your property before inclement weather strikes. Flying objects can be lethal.
- Secure your vacuum hoses and other loose pieces of equipment.
- All employees should be trained to know that wind can affect their hearing capabilities. Be prepared to compensate for warnings and directional comments that might be more difficult to communicate.
- Double-check tree branches and shrubbery for damaged or rotten pieces that may be dislodged by high winds.
- Remind employees to be on the lookout for car doors that may be caught in a wind gust or open farther than expected. This will help avoid other drivers colliding with an open door or causing an uncontrolled impact with someone inadvertently walking by.
- Be sure all signs, both permanent and temporary, are properly secured.
- After the severe wind passes, take the time to thoroughly inspect the property to ensure nothing appears loose or is hanging freely.
- Be sure any awnings or over hanging structures are secured.
I’m sure that without much effort, you can think of several other ideas that aren’t listed above. Risk management all starts with the right mind set and accepting the unending challenge to establish a safe environment for employees and customers. Put on your thinking cap today and stay ahead of the next possible disaster.