Here are two good reasons why you should:
Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. (Source: Insurance Information Institute)
Customers expect delivery of products or services on time. If there is a significant delay, no matter what the cause, customers often go to a competitor.
Insurance is only part of the solution here. It does not cover all losses and it will not replace lost customers.
So what can businesses do?
Often, there are regulations or codes in place mandating requirements for things like building construction, occupant warning systems, exits and protection systems designed to get people safely out of a building during an emergency. And some buildings may require higher levels of protection because of their size, height (high-rise buildings) or the number of occupants they typically house, like theaters for example. A coordinator should be assigned within the company to gather these requirements and to make sure they have been, and are being met.
Occupational safety and health standards by developed by OSHA specify measures to be taken to protect employees in the workplace. Emergency Action Plans (EAP) are one of the OSHA standards that apply to many employers of 10 or more employees. Other regulations pertain to means of egress (exits), medical services, hazardous waste, confined spaces, fire protection, firefighting and more. OSHA’s website has an invaluable resource in its Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool. It is a great step-by-step guide to help determine if your business needs an emergency action plan. It will also answer your questions about employer responsibilities and workers’ rights, too.
In addition, there are some other policies that businesses can develop and put into their EAP before a disaster strikes that can help soften the blow. These would be very specific to your business.
Here are some things to consider when putting your plan together.
- Create a written Emergency Action Plan that is consistent with the mission and vision of the business. It should be written and disseminated by management.
- Write a plan that defines roles and responsibilities, and authorizes selected employees to develop parts of the program and keep it current.
- Define goals to:
- Protect the safety of employees, visitors, contractors and others at risk from hazards at the facility.
- Protect persons with disabilities and functional needs.
- Maintain customer service by minimizing disruptions of business operations
- Protect facilities, physical assets and electronic information
Prevent environmental contamination
- Review the program regularly to keep it current, including a review of any new regulations and laws that may apply.
No matter how large or small your business is, planning ahead possible disasters, both natural and man-made, can pay big dividends when needed. On the other hand, not putting policies and plans in place ahead of time, can put your business on the list of the 40% that never reopen after a disaster.
Freedom Insurance cares about your business. Start or review your Emergency Action Plan today. You’ll be glad you did!