Disaster preparedness can never be overemphasised. Being aware of what you need to do when an accident or calamity strikes could spell the difference between life and death. But being aware and knowing what to do in times of crisis is just one side of the coin. If you are managing an office, then you need to solidify your efforts by forming an Office Emergency Plan.
What is an Office Emergency Plan?
An office emergency plan details what needs to be done for any emergency situation and provides the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure that loss of life is prevented and damage to property is minimised, if not altogether eliminated.
Surprisingly there is still some resistance towards the idea of an office emergency plan. The prevailing opinion of some people (from employees to business owners) is that there’s no need for a manual on emergencies because everything is already in their heads or that it only takes common sense to act accordingly when faced with a stressful emergency situation.
Here are four very compelling reasons why you need to develop an office emergency plan:
1. Don’t let your people get hurt
An office emergency plan mitigates the risk that your employees will receive injuries during a crisis. You’ll know that everyone is on the same page when it comes to dealing with different kinds of emergencies because your safety policies are all on paper.
Providing regular safety training, undertaking exercises and revisiting the plan regularly will help instil these policies in the minds of your employees – so that when disaster strikes, clearly an avoidable injury is prevented.
Compliance is very important because you and your company can be held liable for not following government regulations. For example, in Queensland, the Queensland Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 states that penalties for non-compliance can reach up to 30 penalty points for each non-compliant aspect. Each penalty point is equivalent to AUD 110. In other states, the government imposes fines on companies that do not have an office emergency plan or have presented inadequate plans under the relevant health and safety legislation in that state.
Be aware that the management of the company will be held liable for any injuries that happen to workers within the workplace. Sometimes, even the person in charge can be held liable too.
2. Keep your customers happy in the darkest hour
An emergency or calamity will always disrupt business, sometimes causing losses of millions of dollars. Ensuring proper business continuity planning is sets a plan for how to continue service to your customers with minimal impact, even at limited capacity. Contrast this with a business that doesn’t have an office emergency plan – everything will be decided after the emergency has struck, minimal support will be available, if at all, and your customers will be left frustrated.
3. The Australian Government Requires You To Have An Office Emergency Plan
In Australia, emergency planning is serious business. We face natural calamities regularly – droughts happen an average of three times every ten years, heat waves have killed a lot of Australians (more than any other natural calamity in the last 100 years), and brush fires cause millions of dollars of damage to property almost every year.
Because of this, the Australian government has made it a mission to ensure that all businesses implement office emergency plans to protect employees and property. You are mandated by the government to provide an emergency plan for your company or face sanctions. Following regulations will save you from any legal troubles that cost both time and money.
4. Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down During A Disaster
We all have ideas on how to ensure our safety, but an organisation is an entity that needs uniformity and a clear flow of communication. A well-executed emergency plan ensures that your emergency procedures and policies are communicated to everyone involved and that there are systems in place that ensure policies are maintained and meet all compliance requirements.
How do you get started?
A company like EvacServices can help organisations devise the correct emergency plan for your business. EvacServices is a specialist in corporate occupational health and safety procedures and emergency response planning. Arrange a consultation with us, and we’ll help you devise an emergency plan that is purpose-built to your specific needs and will help you achieve 100% compliance.