As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your employees from harm, and that includes any natural disasters.
So if you operate in an area prone to hurricanes, hurricane preparedness is essential.
In order to properly prepare for a hurricane, you need to take steps long before there’s any sign of a hurricane threat. That way, when a hurricane does hit, you’ll have all the tools you need to respond quickly, protect your assets, and get your employees to safety.
Here are a few things you need to do to get your business ready for hurricane season.
Identify Risk and Make a Plan
The first step for any business is to identify your level of risk. For example, do you operate in an area prone to hurricanes? If you’re reading this, the answer is probably yes. Is your area prone to flash flooding? High winds?
If a hurricane hit tomorrow, what would be the biggest potential problem you’d have to deal with? And what can you do to fortify your locations against potential damage?
From there, you’re ready to make a safety plan.
Figure out what you need to protect and make a plan to keep it safe. Backup all of your data in cloud systems. Create emergency response checklists. Set up a two-way communication system. Figure out the nearest evacuation shelters and map multiple routes – make sure every employee has a copy.
Protect Your People, Inventory Your Assets
But as you’re fortifying your business, don’t neglect your most important asset: your people.
You should know where each employee is located in real time. You should have some sort of mass notification system (or SMS) in the event of an emergency. You should always have the means to reach an employee if you need them.
In addition, you should take the time to train every employee on emergency procedures. They should know emergency exits, evacuation routes, how to reach each other. Better still, train each employee so that they know what their responsibilities are in the event of an emergency. Make sure that everyone understands the protocol and make them practice drills.
OSHA Emergency Action Plan Requirements
OSHA’s job is to keep employees safe, and that extends to natural disasters.
Some businesses are required to have an emergency action plan in place meeting the standards in 29 CFR 1910.38. This emergency action plan must include:
- Fire reporting procedures
- Procedures for an emergency evacuation
- Procedures to account for all employees in an evacuation
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing emergency rescue or medical duties
- Procedures to be followed by employees who must stay behind to maintain critical operations before evacuating
- The name, title, and contact information of any employees who other employees can contact if they need more information
Employers are also responsible for implementing an emergency alarm system and training employees on what to do in the event of an emergency. You’re also responsible for ensuring that all of your employees know and understand the plan.
Hurricane Preparedness Protects What Matters
Hurricane preparedness is all about protecting what matters most: your employees.
Without them, your business wouldn’t be able to operate. So in a natural disaster, it only makes sense that you would take steps to ensure their safety.
Featured Resource: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Safety Culture