Explosions, earthquakes, tornadoes, flash floods, sinkholes, lightning strikes, hurricanes, terror attacks, and acts of war are a few damage conditions that can strike the workplace with little or no warning.
Regardless of which catastrophe might occur, the employer’s response will impact the employees and the organization. Proper catastrophe plans and programs with a prompt response and corrective actions are necessary, and while the physical property damage is a paramount concern to get the organization back into business, it is the attention to employees that must come first.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Consider the following to properly prepare for a catastrophe:
- Prepare physical requirements such as fire-fighting equipment, firewalls, safety doors, wireless communication equipment, personnel safety ware, and first aid equipment.
- Escape paths, properly placed emergency shut-off buttons, valves, and wheels must be accessible.
- High Powered emergency battery lighting must be strategically placed. It needs to be set to go on at the immediate loss of regular power. Everything will require clear egress and be highly visible at all times.
- It will be necessary to train all employees to use all equipment. Run classes and actual drills at regular intervals. Occasionally run drills without warning. It is also suggested that some people be assigned as injury victims.
- Designating employee-partners, teams, and individuals that can help each other leave the premises and obtain medical care or other physical needs. Set up safe gathering areas to go to after the loss.
- Keep the program current and constantly be ready to supply the latest in equipment and knowledge.
- Management must be diligent at training, inspecting, monitoring, and enforcing for all equipment and procedures.
- Employees’ compliance should be part of performance appraisals.
- Arrange for the handling of the press and electronic media. Designate one source to release verified information. Instruct all employees to refrain from media interviews.
- Make arrangements with local police, fire, and medical facilities as to how they will respond. Prepare a program that defines what their functions are when a loss occurs.
Employee’s First Priority:
Regardless of all equipment, employee training and drills, there can still be some degree of confusion, fright, panic, and even forgetting by the employees on what to do. If the devastation is horrific, the instant shock might paralyze thought and action.
As a result, management’s response will greatly impact perception, efficiency, trustworthiness, and minimizing effects. If handled poorly, employee relations can be damaged for extended periods. While there will be the necessity to restore the property and normal operation, it must be the employees that become the first priority.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center, which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
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