March and April are two of the windiest months of the year. The seasonal change from winter to spring causes differences in air pressure and air temperature that can result in some very gusty winds. With outdoor inventory exposed to the elements, this windy time of year can pose a significant risk to your business.

Here’s a refresher on the types of hazards created by strong winds and what you can do to protect your inventory from wind damage this spring.


Common Outdoor Wind Hazards for Inventory

Wind creates a hazard due to its ability to move objects that then come into contact with the inventory as well as being able to move the inventory itself. Here are a few examples to be aware of:

Structures at Your Property

A wide variety of structures located on your facility’s property have the potential to cause damage to your inventory if they are moved by the wind. Examples include roofing, siding, flag poles, exterior signage, satellite dishes, fencing and awnings. As permanently installed fixtures, these objects are not intended to move. But if the material is loose or the wind is strong enough, they may come into contact with the inventory.

Unsecured Objects at Your Property

Another category of hazards are those that are not permanently installed and may be moved around your property. You may not think of some of these objects as wind hazards as they may spend most of their time inside away from inventory. These objects typically include seasonal furniture, such as patio chairs, tables and umbrellas, garbage containers, shipping pallets, barrels and other such materials.

Objects from a Neighboring Property

A hazard you can manage can be different than one you can’t. There is always a risk that objects from neighboring properties could be blown into your property and cause damage to inventory. This could include parts of buildings, pallets, outdoor furniture and more. These hazards may be more difficult to guard against.

Objects Falling from Overhead

A number of natural and manmade objects could cause damage to inventory from an overhead fall. Trees are a big risk to watch out for, whether they are throughout your property, along the property line or located on a neighboring property. Falling power lines, utility poles and streetlights can also pose a risk in heavy winds.

Loose or Exposed Inventory Components

Wind damage can also occur without the inventory being struck by another object. The impacted components can vary, depending on the nature of your inventory, but any component that is loose or exposed to the wind may move, bend or break, causing damage. Examples could include side panels being blown off, unsecured doors being swung open with damage to hinges or glass, or roof materials being caught by the wind and blown loose.


How to Protect Against Wind

Even though your inventory is located outside, it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the mercy of the elements. There are some steps you can take to minimize the risks.

Before Windy Weather

You can prepare before windy weather arrives by developing a plan to routinely inspect the condition of your facility structures, property and inventory. Be sure to:

  • Check for loose roofing, siding and other materials and make repairs.
  • Securely anchor long-term storage items that are kept outdoors.
  • Put away outdoor furniture, supplies and other items when not in use.
  • Check the condition of trees and address any limbs that might fall in a storm.
  • Make sure inventory components are secure and unable to be blown by wind.

When a Wind Advisory Is Issued

If high winds or windstorms are forecast for your area, take precautions to protect your inventory. Plan to:

  • Regularly review forecast updates and communicate with workers.
  • Move loose objects indoors or securely anchor them if kept outside.
  • Make sure doors and panels on buildings and the inventory are latched.
  • Move inventory away from trees, lights and powerlines that may fall where possible.

After a Windstorm

After windy weather has passed, it’s important to quickly assess your inventory for any damage and report a potential claim, if needed. There are several reasons for this.

  • Unseen damage could lead to additional problems for the inventory.
  • Many insurance policies limit how much time can pass before reporting a claim.
  • Prompt claim reporting results in better outcomes in many situations.


More Ways to Protect Your Inventory

Even with careful attention to your outdoor inventory, damage from the wind may one day occur. Having the right insurance protection in place helps minimize the impact to your business. Your insurance representative can help make sure you have the inventory coverage needed to protect your business.

For more information about managing the risks that impact your outdoor inventory, contact Lockton Affinity.