Website offers help to develop employee, business protection plans
National Preparedness Month was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. In proclaiming this year's event, President Obama pointed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready Campaign. It includes a website specifically devoted to employers to protect their companies and employees.
Ready Business provides "practical steps and easy-to-use templates" to help companies plan. It also includes links to resources with detailed business continuity and disaster preparedness information. "Business continuity and crisis management can be complex issues depending on the particular industry, size and scope of your business," the website says. "However, putting a plan in motion will improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover."
Among the documents available is a readiness assessment to determine the level of preparedness of a company. It includes questions such as:
- Does your business have a written, comprehensive emergency plan in place to help ensure your safety and take care of employees until help can arrive?
- Has your business created and practiced procedures to quickly evacuate and find shelter in case of an emergency?
- Has your business created a communication plan to communicate with employees in an emergency?
- Does your business promote family and individual preparedness among coworkers?
- Has your business worked with your community on emergency planning efforts and helped to plan for community recovery?
Communicating with employees is a major focus of the website. The authors suggest involving people from all levels in emergency planning and practicing the plan once it is implemented.
Newsletters, Intranet sites, staff meetings, and other internal communication tools are suggested as vehicles to communicate emergency plans and procedures.
There is a section on "employee health" for workers who may have special recovery needs after a disaster. Also included is information to encourage employees and their families to get a kit, make a plan, and be informed.
Costs. Some aspects of a disaster protection plan can be implemented for little or no cost. These include:
- Create procedures to quickly evacuate and shelter-in-place. Practice the plans.
- Talk to your people about the company's disaster plans. Two-way communication is central before, during, and after a disaster.
- Create an emergency contact list, including employee emergency contact information.
- Know what types of emergencies might affect your company both internally and externally.
- Decide in advance what you will do if your building is unusable.
- Promote family and individual preparedness among your coworkers.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm.
- Provide first aid and CPR training to key coworkers.
- Attach equipment and cabinets to walls or other stable equipment and place heavy or breakable objects on low shelves.
- If applicable, make sure the building's HVAC system is working properly and well-maintained.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 19, 2011
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