Preventing Frozen Pipes for Business

Cold temperatures can reach areas of your facility that you seldom visit or cannot see, such as:

  • Crawl spaces
  • Closets
  • Enclosed spaces (e.g., attics, lofts, roof spaces)
  • Warehouses
  • Isolated storage areas

Strategies to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Some prevention strategies to consider:

  • Properly insulate and/or provide approved heat tracing for water-filled pipes located in exterior walls or unheated spaces.
  • Drain any piping that is not required during the winter months.
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 40° F (4.4° C) in building areas with processes susceptible to freezing, wet-pipe sprinkler systems, fire pump houses and dry-pipe valve enclosures.
  • Ensure that anti-freeze sprinkler systems have sufficient concentration (appropriate specific gravity readings) of antifreeze to withstand freezing weather.
  • Inspect dry systems to help ensure air settings are correct, air maintenance systems are in good operating condition, and any pipe closets are well insulated. If any heat tape or heating systems are being used, ensure that they are UL-listed for this specific purpose and are in good operating condition. Dry-pipe sprinkler systems low points and auxiliary drains should be opened and drained of any water or condensation.
  • Any branch lines on wet sprinkler systems exposed or subject to extreme cold weather should be insulated and heat traced. Electric heat tracing products should be UL-listed for this specific purpose.
  • Fire pump test headers should be checked to ensure they have been properly drained.
  • Fire pump and dry-pipe sprinkler system equipment rooms should be checked routinely to ensure the heaters are in good operating condition.
  • The use of low temperature supervision can help to ensure rooms are being properly heated.

https://www.travelers.com/resources/facilities-management/preventing-frozen-pipes-for-businesses

Client Spotlight: GreenRoots

GreenRoots
COVID19 Response in Chelsea and East Boston

As an environmental justice organization serving some of MA’s most vulnerable residents, GreenRoots has trumpeted for years that our neighborhoods would be hit first and worst by a disaster. However, we anticipated that the crisis would be climate-related, not the COVID19 pandemic that is ravaging our communities.

Chelsea and East Boston continue to be the hardest-hit communities in MA. In the first pandemic wave, Chelsea’s infection rate was 6x higher than Massachusetts’ rate and higher than the hardest hit boroughs in New York City. Our neighbors fell ill and were dying to a devastating degree. Now, in the newest surge, Chelsea continues to have a consistently high infection rate. East Boston is identified as the hardest hit Boston community, with rates equaling or surpassing those in Chelsea. We are just seeing the beginning of the long-term impacts, both health and economic, of COVID19 in both these communities.

GreenRoots responded to the crisis swiftly and decisively, and continues to play a leadership role in the pandemic response for all of our neighborhoods on both sides of the Chelsea Creek.
Building systems to address community needs was a key initial focus of GreenRoots. On March 11th, GreenRoots coordinated a call of numerous Chelsea stakeholders to plan a coordinated response for the COVID-19 pandemic. This initial call turned into Chelsea’s Pandemic response team, with over 75 stakeholders, 10 working groups, with over 65 days of daily calls. GreenRoots was also instrumental in developing and implementing the East Boston Mutual Aid Network. Both in Chelsea and East Boston, these two systems provided the backbones for community-led responses. In addition, GreenRoots’ coordinated effort around public health (including a letter to Governor Baker with 47 community signatories) led to increased testing and National Guard support for food distribution.

GreenRoots was a founding partner of the One Chelsea Fund, a cash assistance program facilitated through the United Way in collaboration with the City of Chelsea, The Neighborhood Developers and La Colaborativa.  Together, we raised more than $1.3 million for distribution to Chelsea residents. To learn more about the fund, check out a One Chelsea Fund Video. GreenRoots distributed approximately 1,700 checks ($425,000 in total) to residents. We are now launching phase II of the fund which will be directed to address anti-displacement efforts in Chelsea. In East Boston, our staff collaborated with Centro Presente which distributed $155,000 to local residents; and weekly boxes of food to food insecure families.

In addition to the aforementioned activities, GreenRoots helped with food distribution, diaper donations, funds for funerals, distributing PPE and multi-lingual message and much more.
To learn more, visit www.greenrootschelsea.org.

Tips for Workers’ Compensation Policyholders During COVID-19

Presented by: Acadia Insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to adjust or reduce their operations.  Workers may have transitioned to working from home, having reduced hours, have been furloughed – some with or without pay, or have been laid off.

With this upheaval, it is important to maintain accurate payroll records to ensure you are charged appropriate premium for your Workers’ Compensation coverage. Workers’ Compensation policies are audited at the end of each policy term, and premiums will be adjusted based on your employee payroll and type of work performed over the course of the year.

In particular, make sure your records account for the following:

  • Any changes in payroll, including a reduction in staff or reduction in hours
  • If you have furloughed employees with pay during the business disruption, make sure to keep separate payroll records for these employees for the time they continue to be paid and are not working for you. Furloughed payroll will have a reduced or zero rate when used in the calculation of Workers’ Compensation premium, depending on state Workers’ Compensation rules.
  • If you have furloughed workers within the state of Massachusetts, Massachusetts has the additional requirement below:
    An employer who is making payments to paid furloughed workers must provide to their workers’ compensation carrier, within the later of 60 days of approval date of this rule or 25 days after the employer begins making payments to paid furloughed workers, a list of all paid furloughed employees, which shall also include the employee’s normal workers’ compensation classification, weekly wage, furloughed date, and anticipated date of return to work.

Tips for a Change in Operations
Many businesses are not able to run their typical operations because of states’ response to COVID-19 and, instead of closing, they may adapt their operations so they can maintain a flow of income. Other businesses have changed their operations to help respond to the pandemic by providing essential products. For example, many distillers have adjusted their operations to not only distill spirits but also to manufacture hand sanitizer to help with the shortage. If your business has had a material change in operations during COVID-19:

  • Contact your insurance agent to see if this change in operations could impact your how your Workers’ Compensation policy is priced.
  • Note changes in roles of your employees as part of your payroll reporting as they may be assigned to a different class code. Are employees engaging in work that is materially different from their prior role?

Maintain Workers’ Compensation Coverage
If you’ve had to make the difficult decision to lay off all employees during this time, it is important to maintain Workers’ Compensation coverage so you are protected when your business resumes operations. Maintaining accurate payroll records will ensure your premiums reflect your reduced business operations and staff during this period. More importantly, if you cancel your policy, you may find purchasing a new policy difficult or more costly when you resume operations as insurance carriers evaluate new customers on several factors, including whether the business has had continuous prior coverage in place.

Your insurance agent is an important professional resource who can help ensure your insurance keeps up with your business during this disruptive time. For more resources about managing your business during COVID-19, visit Acadia’s dedicated resource page https://www.acadiainsurance.com/coronavirus-covid-19/