Risk Engineering Guides

Risk Engineering Guides

COVID-19: Temporarily closing a facility or downsizing operations

Our tips to reduce the exposure of property loss during idle business periods

If you are closing a facility or downsizing operations as a result of COVID-19, the best way to reduce the exposure of property loss during idle business periods and increase the likelihood of a positive transition back to full business operations is to have a facility plan which encompasses the following best practices:
Preparing the property:

  • Power down all non-essential equipment and disconnect all unnecessary power supplies
  • Remove all outside storage and if not possible, locate stored items a minimum of 15m from all important buildings and exterior equipment
  • Place flammable and combustible liquids in existing flammable liquids storage room or cabinets or remove from the building
  • Disconnect and remove compressed gas cylinders from the building
  • Remove combustible materials/residues from machinery
  • Remove all waste materials from the premises
  • Reduce overgrown vegetation around the premises in particular around energy sources such as electrical transformers
  • Inspect the roof and stormwater systems to ensure leaks and blockages are attended to prior to shutdown and continue with ongoing monitoring of these systems
  • Ensure that all rodent baiting and trapping systems are well set-up, and that they continue to be serviced

Preparing the fire protection systems:                                            

  • Chain, lock and/or supervise all interior and exterior fire sprinkler control valves in the fully open position
  • Visually inspect sprinkler control valves and portable fire extinguishers a minimum of weekly to ensure they are available and ready for operation
  • Inspect and continue maintaining all fire protection equipment, most notably fire sprinkler systems and fire pumps in accordance with appropriate Australian Standards
  • Ensure all sprinkler and smoke/heat detection and alarm systems are operational and monitored either via a constantly monitored on-site or remote location (e.g. security office or central station alarm company)
  • Close all fire doors and maintain them in good operating condition. If it is necessary to keep fire doors open, verify that they are operational and automatic closing devices are provided
  • In regions vulnerable to humidity and/or winter cold, ensure adequate heat is maintained throughout all areas of the premises to avoid condensation on electrical equipment and freeze-up potential of sprinkler, process or domestic waterlines or equipment
  • Fire protection system impairments should continue to be reported to Liberty Specialty Markets via your insurance representative
  • If deemed safe, maintain emergency response team members on-site as much as possible or maintain on-call personnel to be available to assist in emergencies (fire, water leakage, equipment shutdown, etc.). If values and/or occupancy risks are high, notify the Fire Brigade about the changed occupancy and provide them with contact details for personnel

Closing down and securing:

  • High value goods should be removed or stored within dedicated and secured areas such as vaults if present
  • Maintain/provide manual security and/or electronic surveillance and monitored intruder alarm systems
  • Maintain interior and exterior lighting
  • Secure all building openings (doors, windows, roof access etc.) to limit access by unauthorised persons


The illustrations, instructions, and principles contained in the material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. Our risk control services are advisory only. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer safety activities, implementing any recommended corrective measures, or identifying all potential hazards.

No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations. Please refer to the appropriate government authority for interpretation or clarification.