Emergency situations are not pleasant to think about, but they are a reality of life. The best job you can do as a business owner is to set your office up in the safest way possible, with careful considerations made to your employee’s needs and total assurance that you’ve followed all relevant industry safety standards.
In order to help lend a hand, we’ve provided an outline of all the emergency plans and procedures modern business owners must consider when seeking to make their workspace as safe as possible for both employees and visitors alike. Be sure to engage with the required industry standards for your workplace as outlined by your local safety authorities alongside following this list, just to be absolutely certain that your business has ticked all the necessary boxes.
Fire safety should be a high priority for any business, especially given how condensed our office buildings are today. Fitting modern smoke alarms in the office is truly the bare minimum. Business owners are also responsible for ensuring that their building’s smoke alarms are tested and maintained at routine intervals by fire safety professionals.
You also want to have several fire extinguishers fitted around your workplace with fire blankets also close by wherever applicable, as well as sprinkler systems and fire doors. Remember, there are different types of fires, including dry, chemical, electrical fires, and grease fires, just to name a few. A workplace risk assessment should help identify which fires your workplace is most at-risk of experiencing. Use the findings of your risk assessment as a guide for securing all the correct fire extinguishers for your business.
Regular fire drills are also very important in educating a team on how to respond. Educate your team on how they can best prepare and protect themselves in a fire. Be sure to also place maps around the office that signal where employees should congregate after a fire or other emergency evacuation. If you cannot take on these responsibilities yourself, there is value in assembling a fire safety team who can meet periodically to discuss the needs of the office and form a plan to keep the office engaged and educated in fire safety.
Extreme weather events
If the last few years are anything to go by, extreme weather events are certainly no potential danger to be scoffed at. If your business finds itself unprepared in the event of extreme weather conditions, you may experience great damage to your company premises or assets, and perhaps even injuries.
Thankfully, preparing for these events is nice and easy when you follow directions provided by your local emergency service providers and other organisations responsible for emergency situations in your area. Preparing supplies like torches, first aid, and food supplies are going to be invaluable in the event of floods or severe storms. You should also communicate with your team about who they should call if they feel unsafe at the office in an impending weather event and what the steps are to take. Communicate this information at routine intervals or as part of your workplace safety training to ensure all employees are aware of what they must do in this particular emergency event.
Intruders and external threats
Despite society’s keen interest in true crime, many of us would be dumbfounded as to what to do in the event of an intruder or other external threat. This can be a very scary emergency to consider or even talk about with your staff, but doing so will allow you to devise a strategy. If an individual enters your workplace with a weapon or a threat of harm, what will you do? It is worth consulting with a police officer to understand what you can do to diffuse a situation and who to call.
The logistics and likelihood of these emergency scenarios will vary depending on the location of your company premises. Still, there is no harm in being prepared for a sinister event like this. You may even like to align with your neighbours to see what measures they have in place and see if they can also be part of your strategy.
Injury and medical emergency
As a business owner, you have likely already put procedures in place to reduce the chance of injury and medical emergency in your workplace. That said, these situations can and do occur, and they aren’t static either, so your procedures should be revisited periodically. Stocking your office with first aid supplies will go a long way in bringing peace of mind to your team, and these first aid kits have so many useful tools for a range of incidents. You can also go a step further and have your entire workplace trained in first aid so that each team member feels equipped with the knowledge to assist in an emergency.
Safety best practises
If you are a small business owner or are single-handedly conducting all management responsibilities for your business, then you may not have the time to train your team on safety best practices. So you should feel comfortable outsourcing this work, just to ensure that it gets completed with the utmost care and attention.
Assemble a health and safety team (if you have not already) and they can take your staff through the ins and outs of office safety in your stead. This includes things like turning off all power outlets in the office, creating space and ventilation between large devices like printers or industrial machinery that may overheat, and other seemingly innocuous office organisation tactics and procedures that can help maintain safety in the workplace on a daily basis. You can also put these training items together in a document; this is a robust way to train new employees and save the double handling of training.
The weight that a business owner has to carry can be huge. Becoming aware of the threats and emergencies that exist will go a long way in providing confidence to your team that they are in safe hands. You also want to be continuously updating your plans so that you are accounting for all the new and changed threats that may be present.