Hurricane season runs from June until November. Every winter brings the chance of blizzards and extreme cold. Destructive tornadoes or floods can occur throughout the year in many parts of the country. Are you confident your business could respond to and cope with any of these disasters?
Even when it’s not required, OSHA recommends that all businesses create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). An EAP is your game plan on what needs to be done and by whom in case of an emergency, covering everything from fire alarms to evacuation plans. Laying out these guidelines in advance ensures you’re never caught off guard in a crisis and can maintain control before, during and after the incident.
An EAP is your game plan on what needs to be done and by whom in case of an emergency, covering everything from fire alarms to evacuation plans.
As a first step to drafting your company’s EAP, consider the absolute worst-case scenarios. Take into account your business’s location and the most common natural disasters in your area. If you’re in Illinois, for example, you probably won’t encounter any earthquakes or hurricanes, but you might have to deal with a blizzard.
You should also conduct a hazard assessment of your workplace. Do your operations involve any potentially dangerous equipment or hazardous chemicals? They require different safety procedures, so check on the specifics. Keep in mind, too, that if you have more than one worksite, you will need more than one EAP to address differences in floor plans, equipment and materials.
Try to involve your employees throughout the process, both in the planning and when assigning emergency response roles. If your employees have clearly defined tasks, they’ll know precisely what to do in an actual emergency. For example, Employee A is in charge of taking a headcount after an evacuation, Employee B is trained on CPR techniques, Employee C needs to shut down certain operations before an evacuation, and so on.
According to OSHA, your emergency plan should include the following:
Once you develop your EAP, you need to educate your staff on the details. If you work with less than 10 employees, you can communicate the plan verbally, although it’s always a good idea to have it in writing. Include employee roles and contact information in your plan and if you’ve created visuals of your emergency exits and evacuation routes, be sure to post them prominently.
Next, you’ll want to put your EAP to the test. Hold regular drills, involving nearby fire departments or the police whenever possible. After these drills, ask for employee feedback. Was anything difficult or confusing? Did the procedure take too long? Can anything be improved? With this input, revise your EAP. Any time you modify your plan, your equipment, your materials or your office layout, train your employees on the updates.
Remember: The amount of lost time and productivity after a major disaster will ultimately come down to your preparations and training. With effective communication and employee cooperation, you can keep recovery time to a minimum and your business standing after a crisis.
An employer’s right to discipline employees for actions outside the workplace is not always clear-cut. Even in states covered by … Read more
Unless you live under a rock, avoiding political discussions has become virtually impossible these days. An unconventional campaign and presidency … Read more
Political conversations have spilled into every area of our lives, including our workplaces. And while workplace discussions about the latest … Read more
As an employer or manager, you’re responsible for keeping workers safe. This includes preventing violence in the workplace. According to … Read more
Policies addressing violence and weapons in the workplace are essential for all employers. But they’re often ignored by small businesses. … Read more
As Americans, we have a right to free speech. But does that protection apply to the workplace? Many people wrongly … Read more
Get the latest news and free resources from ComplyRight delivered straight to your inbox.
You've just unlocked a wealth of FREE resources to build HR confidence.
ComplyRight provides free educational resources related to employee management, labor law and compliance. Better understand HR basics and learn how to address specific issues by browsing our knowledge center.
At ComplyRight, our mission is to free employers from the burden of tracking and complying with the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws, so they can stay focused on managing and growing their businesses.
©2019 ComplyRight, Inc.