Above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean in August may result in El Nino weather during the late fall and winter months in Arizona. In early September, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) stated that the chances of an El Nino were 60 to 65%. This may translate to more rain and snow throughout the Southwest.
While much of the region has experienced a drought in recent years, parts of Arizona have seen heavy rain during monsoon season. Employers may see just as much rain, if not more, during the winter. As such, business owners may want to consider communicating the importance of rain and flood safety to their staff members.
Staying safe in extreme weather
There are several steps employers may want to take ensure their businesses and employees are well-prepared for potentially severe weather.
- Prepare for flood risks: It’s a good idea to have an evacuation plan in place, as well as all the necessary first-aid and safety equipment on hand in case flooding affects the business. Employers may consider leading evacuation drills to teach employees what to do in the event of a flood. Workers may be assigned certain safety jobs to ensure all the appropriate precautions are taken. This also engages staff in safety training and may increase their awareness of and ability to respond to emergency situations.
- Make a business continuity plan: Once safety planning is taken care of, employers may want to consider creating a business continuity plan so that employees can resume work safely and effectively. This plan may include an evaluation system for determining whether the workspace is safe for employees to return to. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website is a good source of information on business continuity and overall disaster preparedness.
- Encourage safe driving: While it’s important to ensure the office and work sites are safe and prepared for heavy rainfall, flooding and resulting phenomena like power outages, employers also may want to focus on driver safety as the wet weather approaches. Business owners may want to encourage employees who drive to work to take the appropriate precautions on the road. These may include planning for rain delays, being aware of road closures and monitoring weather alerts before getting behind the wheel.
While the El Nino weather predicted is not expected to be extremely strong or hazardous, it may be a good time to encourage safe practices across the business.