If a disaster strikes your company, affects your employees and impacts the bottom line, will you be prepared?
Although workplace disasters are usually few and far between, they can range from minor to catastrophic, oftentimes with significant consequences. Today, some of the most common workplace disasters include:
- Smoke or fire
- Electrical outage
- Hazardous materials exposure
- Earthquakes or other natural disasters
- Workplace violence
Employers would be wise to be prepared for these types of disasters by having a written safety plan in place. Safety plans, also known as disaster recovery plans or emergency preparedness, are a company’s smartest disaster defense. If prepared thoughtfully and thoroughly, they outline the best procedures and protocol for protecting employees, protecting the company and keeping the lights of a business on.
All companies with 10 or more employees should have a written safety plan in place. These plans are typically updated on an annual basis, tested during practice drills and amended as necessary. In addition, key corporate departments such as information technology and building maintenance are part of the solution. A strong relationship with your local fire department also is advised. Be sure fire officials have current building schematics and floor plans for all of your office space and employees.
A work/job building analysis also should be a part of your safety plan. Employers need to know how many people are in the building and have clear procedures for each type of potential disaster scenario. Utilizing simple, step-by-step instructions will enable your safety plan to be easily adopted by employees. It’s imperative that employees also receive training on the safety plan so they understand their roles and responsibilities on how to stay safe.
Not sure where to start? CopperPoint offers a guide to creating your customized safety plan on our website. In addition, OSHA and the National Safety Council both offer helpful resources. Your insurance carrier or agent (in-house loss control) are additional sources for help.
A safety plan is a shared responsibility between an employer and its employees. Take the time to create a new plan or dust off an old one. After all, protecting what matters most — your employees’ safety — is the ultimate goal.
Scott Hullinger is Director of Loss Control and Risk Management for CopperPoint Insurance Companies, a leading provider of workers compensation insurance and property and casualty insurance products.