Hurricane season is among us, and it serves as an excellent reminder for employers to review their workplace policies and procedures to ensure that you are prepared before a hurricane.
Here are five items employers should consider in preparing your workplace for hurricane season:
- Review and Update Workplace Policies: At least annually, review workplace and emergency preparedness policies and procedures to ensure they remain up-to-date and relevant. Consider changes in regulations, best practices and lessons learned. Policies to consider reviewing include leave policies, remote work arrangements, emergency pay, and provisions for employees with specific needs or accommodations.
- Workplace Emergency Response Plan: Employers should develop a comprehensive emergency response plan tailored to their workplace outlining the procedures to follow before, during and after a hurricane. It should include evacuation routes, designated safe areas, communication protocols, emergency contacts, and roles and responsibilities of critical employees.
- Employee Communication and Training: Establish effective communication channels to keep employees informed before, during and after a hurricane. This includes sharing information about emergency procedures, evacuation routes, assembly points and any changes to work schedules or operations. Conduct regular training sessions to ensure employees are familiar with the emergency plan and know how to respond.
- Business Continuity Planning: Develop a business continuity plan outlining procedures for maintaining critical operations during a hurricane and resuming operations afterward. This plan should assess potential risks, address essential functions, data backup and recovery, supply chain considerations, alternative work arrangements, and establish communication channels with clients, vendors and other stakeholders. A well-defined plan can minimize downtime and help your business recover more efficiently.
- Employee Safety and Additional Resources: Following a hurricane, provide support to employees by addressing their immediate needs, such as accessing medical assistance or temporary housing. Consider establishing an employee assistance program to offer guidance and resources for recovery, and consider flexible work arrangements or time off to address personal needs after a hurricane.
Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s crucial to consult with local authorities and your legal counsel to tailor your preparedness efforts to fit your specific circumstances.