About 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster. If you have never given much thought to the kind of impact a natural, human-caused, or health disaster could have on your business, it’s about time you do. Emergency response planning is one of the best things you can do for your business.
Having one may not prevent the worst-case scenario from happening, but it’ll increase your chances of survival. An emergency response plan could also protect you from workplace injury lawsuits that cost businesses about $62 billion per year.
Now, if you already have an emergency response plan, how can you improve it? Read on to learn!
1. Identify All Potential Threats
If you already have an emergency response strategy in place, it’s a given that you may have already identified all potential threats. Depending on your business location, you could be facing various threats. Think in the lines of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.
Apart from natural disasters, you’re also facing common workplace emergencies. These would include slip and fall accidents, auto accidents, explosions, and chemical spills.
The level of potential threats highly depends on your industry and your type of workplace. For instance, the construction industry is inherently more dangerous than most jobs. In this industry, employers need to take extra precautions and take emergency response planning very seriously.
Conduct interviews with other businesses in the area to gather insights on different incidents and the kind of response they get. Assess all risks involved and understand where your business is vulnerable. Understand what your insurance policy covers and get additional coverage if you need to.
2. Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
When it comes to emergency response planning, writing down an emergency plan will go a long way. This is a crucial part of emergency response training for your employees and workers who need to know how to react when an emergency occurs. The one thing you have to keep in mind is to keep the message short for quick referencing.
Your emergency response strategy should include a warning system. It should alert all employees and customers of an emergency. You can also have a mass notification system in place to reach all employees, regardless of where they are.
For instance, if you deal with chemicals, you need to have an emergency chemical spill response strategy. It’ll ensure that no one gets injured simply because they’re unaware.
From here, it’s imperative for you to define employee roles during an emergency. Everyone should know their expected responsibilities so they can act fast accordingly. Identify a first aid team that is well trained in CPR and basic first aid before medical personnel arrives.
3. Make Sure You Meet OSHA Requirements
It’s important for you to ensure you have OSHA requirements in your workplace. A lot of businesses experience emergencies that would otherwise be avoided if OSHA requirements were met. For a safe work environment, make sure your disaster recovery plan is easy to distribute.
If you have it in one centralized location, ask all employees to pick it up and consult on whatever they don’t understand. If you can create an app for the younger generation, it may be easier for everyone to have it hands-on on their mobile devices. You can also upload your disaster recovery plan to Google Drive and share it with everyone so they can read it at their leisure.
The trick here is to make sure that you don’t send out a 100-page booklet. You can be sure that this is something no employee is going to read. Keep it simple and concise, and easy to remember when an emergency takes place.
4. Conduct Training
If you want to maintain a safe work environment, it’s a project for you to train your employees on common workplace emergencies. Show them how to react during an emergency, so they don’t panic when one happens. If your region is prone to flooding, make sure that all your employees can swim and know how to react in such a situation.
If your area is more prone to fire, make sure that everybody knows how to protect themselves from smoke and how to evacuate properly. If you’re dealing with hazardous chemicals, ensure all your employees are trained on handling them. Additionally, everybody should have the right protective equipment to prevent any personal injuries.
Make sure all personnel know where the protective equipment is kept. During your training drills, everyone should know where all the exit doors are.
They should know where all the fire extinguishers are placed, and where the protective gear is kept. Moreover, ensure all emergency devices are in working condition at all times. These could include things like sprinklers, fire extinguishers, as well as smoke, and fire detectors.
Given the fact that emergencies are not something you can predict, a few seconds can be the difference between life and death. In your emergency response planning, make sure everybody knows where all the emergency equipment is located. Understanding what should be done immediately to avoid further injuries or damages.
5. Develop a Business Continuity Plan
One of the most overlooked aspects of emergency situations is having a business continuity plan. Keeping your business operational as you recover can be the difference between saving it and shutting it down.
Now, keeping your business operational after a disaster can be a challenge unless you plan ahead efficiently. For starters, you need to have a checklist of all the jobs that are necessary to continue a functioning post-disaster business.
Plan on a relocation place and how soon you can get the wheels rolling again. Take inventory of all the necessary business equipment. Don’t forget things like servers and software.
In the world of cyber security, it’s also important for you to have a data recovery plan. It’ll help you avoid losing all customer information or business reputation. Have an alternative office space to relocate to and a way to still keep your customers getting their products or services.
Emergency Response Planning: Everything You Need To Protect Your Business
If you have already undergone emergency response planning, then you need to keep updating your data to ensure you cover all bases. Follow the strategies discussed above and create a solid disaster recovery plan to ensure you save your employees and your business.
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