Covid-19: The impact on your premises and industrial sites

The news about COVID_19 and its consequences (confinement, temporary unemployment, shutdown of activities etc.) reminds us that industrial, commercial and administrative premises could be shut down for an unspecified period of time. In these unoccupied / vacant premises / buildings there will be valuable and important items such as production material / equipment, storages) which could be exposed to losses.


Which risks are associated with an activity shutdown (temporary or permanent)?


Losses due to vandalism, arson attacks, burglaries and malice are more likely when premises are unoccupied. The risks associated with unoccupied premises should be evaluated and preventative actions to limit loss should be implemented.



What are the impacts on insurance?


Insurance contracts are based on trust and how a company is managed. During exceptional circumstances (such as COVID-19), insurance continues to apply, however, prevention measures have to be taken, not only to avoid disputes with insurers, but also to avoid a crisis situation during the confinement time.


The checklist below will help you to ensure that your unoccupied premises are adequately protected.



Verlingue’s Recommended safety measures for your premises / buildings


Machinery shutdown: this is particularly important

– Reduce the production speed gradually until complete shutdown;

– Check all energy and fluids are stopped on the production lines;

– Stop all in-progress and finished products storage close to production areas;

– Carry out shutdown maintenance (lubrication, general check, cleaning, etc.)


Building security

– Physically block all accesses to the site to avoid illegal occupation by caravans or other vehicles

– Secure access points on the ground floor: safety locks on doors, security bars on the windows, remove ladders leading to the upper levels, keep extraction systems in the locked position (closed);

– At night, ensure there is a reasonable level of external lighting to facilitate access for security patrols and inspections;

– Ensure security systems (CCTV, move detectors) are visible to give the impression that there is still activity on site



– Before leaving the building, carry out an inspection of the entire site to identify any potential areas of risk (attics, cellars, technical rooms, roof, external areas, waste area, etc.);

– During the shutdown, try to inspect the building regularly (every week if possible);

– Eliminate or reduce to a minimum the combustible stock in the buildings. There should be no storage within a 10 m circle around the external walls. Reduce stock levels as much as possible.

– If possible, stop mail delivery and block the letterboxes and other openings

– Continue applying prevention procedures

– Ensure that all keys are available in case of emergency. Check the emergency plans and the phones of the duty staff and maintenance team.


Maintenance / General Resources

– Isolate all non-essential utilities including gas and electricity;

– Utilities and energies should be cut off at the main distribution points

– Keep the building warm enough to avoid damage to the building, its contents, and the gel from fire detection equipment. The temperature should be at least 5 degrees.

– Water pipes and water supply systems must be drained except those for fire protection.

– Keep the building in as good a condition as possible. Ensure that waterproofed parts of the building are in a good condition (roofs, gutters, etc.). Repair damage to the buildings or safety / security equipment immediately.



– Before closing the building, check that the fire and burglar systems are working (if applicable):

* Anti-intrusion system;

* Automatic fire detection;

* Fire suppression systems such as sprinkler systems.

– Ensure that all alarms are linked to a remote monitoring center and test them;

– Close all the fire shut-off including the technical rooms doors;

– Pay particular attention to the height of stock (distance between sprinkler heads and stock, distance from lighting and electrical equipment, etc.). Before closing the site, beware of keeping too much stock as anything that could cause additional risk should be avoided.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Prevention Department:  direction.prevention@verlingue.fr.