With the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season right around the corner, it’s time to start evaluating how prepared your business is for emergency situations. As an employer, one place to start is asking yourself, “Is an emergency action plan in place for all employees to follow in the event of an emergency?”
Creating an emergency action plan, or EAP, begins with a risk assessment. As the article “The Fury: Preparing for Natural Disasters”, from Risk Management says, once you know what’s at risk, you are better able to understand liabilities and set priorities accordingly. Then you can start developing your EAP. It is a good idea to include employees from all levels in the creation of the plan to help provide direction and to help divide responsibilities.
OSHA’s Emergency Action Plan Checklist is a great resource to turn to for guidance in creating an EAP. It covers a variety of checkpoints ranging from general issues to evacuation policies and procedures, as well as how business owners can address them in any emergency situation – not just hurricanes. Here are some helpful questions that can take you through some of these checkpoints:
– Does the plan consider the impact of these internal and external emergencies on the workplace’s operations and is the response tailored to the workplace?
– Does the plan contain the names, titles, departments, and telephones numbers of individuals to contact for additional information or for an explanation of duties and responsibilities under the plan?
– Does the plan address the types of actions expected of different employees for the various types of potential emergencies?
As you are creating your EAP, keep in mind that all EAPs should – as Risk & Insurance advises, be quick, simple, and practiced. By “quick,” we mean that plans need to be designed so that they can be executed in “a reasonable time frame that begins no more than 48 hours before a hurricane is expected to make landfall and be completed in enough time for employees to evacuate,” according to Risk & Insurance.
Keep your EAP simple by creating a checklist that will allow employees to easily identify which tasks should be taken care of and in what order. Risk & Insurance advises backing the checklists up with detailed documentation as is necessary for reference, reminding employers, “as a hurricane approaches, no one will have time for the details.”
Additionally, EAPs should be rehearsed to ensure that all steps can be completed in the limited time frame. Practicing your EAP will also let you know where adjustments need to be made. For example, you may need to spread out the responsibilities among additional employees or you may learn that a particular task takes longer than originally planned.
As you’re preparing your emergency action plan, it’s also a good idea to use the time to reevaluate your business insurance to make sure that you’re covered in the event of a hurricane or other disaster.
Contact Lamb Financial Group at 1.866.481.5262 to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in making sure your risks are properly assessed and that you’re business is adequately insured and prepared for anything.