When a natural disaster or major emergency strikes, it's a good possibility that many of those affected will be on the job. That's why it's important for business owners to have a well thought out emergency plan, and to take precautions that will keep employees safe should a crisis occur.
7 steps business owners can take to prepare for emergencies in the workplace:
- Know your risks: The first step in developing a strong emergency plan is to understand the risks unique to your business and location. Work with staff and local officials to identify possible worst-case scenarios, such as fire, hurricane, earthquake, or gas leak. From there, you can prioritize risks and develop an effective response for each potential emergency.
- Create an alert system: In the event of an emergency, it's critical to act quickly. A well designed alarm or alert system will ensure that all staff and clients are aware of the situation right away. Be sure all employees are familiar with what all alerts and codes mean, and that they understand how to respond.
- Keep duplicate records: Staff and client records are often critical to everyday business operations, but they may also be necessary in the aftermath of a disaster to ensure everyone's safety and to minimize the interruption of business activity. Be sure to have a secure backup of all electronic information, as well as duplicate paper copies of important legal documents and basic employee information.
- Plan for alternative communication: If phone lines are down or electronic communication is unavailable, how will you communicate with employees and emergency personnel? Consider a radio or system that will allow you to communicate critical information in a crisis situation.
- Gather supplies: If you live in an area where extreme weather is common, consider what you would do if you and your staff were stranded at the workplace. It may be a good idea to store basic supplies such as non-perishable food, water, and warm clothing that will help you survive a true disaster.
- Know evacuation procedure: A cornerstone of any solid business emergency plan is knowing how to evacuate your building quickly and effectively. If you have more than a few employees, your plan should include a system to account for everyone in the building. Have a list of names, numbers and emergency contacts that can easily be accessed from outside the workplace. Finally, assign roles and backups for tasks like shutting down equipment, counting employees or securing dangerous chemicals during an emergency.
- Don't forget first aid: Make sure you have plenty of first aid supplies on hand and that at least some of your staff is trained in CPR and basic first aid procedures. Offer regular refreshers periodically to ensure your staff is ready for any situation.
For more information about business insurance, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.