How Employers Should Handle Natural Disasters
Natural disasters are not limited to severe weather events or destructive acts of nature such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. They can also include health crises such as outbreak and pandemics, as well as acts of terrorism and violence. Such events can impact all aspects of our daily lives — including our jobs. As an employer, you must take your staff’s well-being into account and be ready to make swift decisions that are in the best interest of their personal safety if a natural disaster should strike while you’re on the job.
Prepare a Natural Disaster Emergency Plan
Being prepared in the event of an emergency can save time, resources, and lives. That’s why it’s best to have a plan in place before disaster strikes. Hold an annual or bi-annual meeting with your staff that includes:
- A discussion of what would happen if a fire or other life-threatening event were to occur.
- The importance of remaining calm and getting out of the building in an orderly fashion.
- Identifying all exits, back-up escape routes, and potential challenges that could impede flight.
- Assigning each department a primary exit that is closest to their offices, as well as an alternate route in case their primary means of escape becomes blocked.
All employees and new-hires should be routinely reminded of all emergency protocols and notified of any updates or changes. It’s also best to perform practice drills of your natural disaster emergency plan twice a year to help keep everyone alert on proper procedure.
Maintain Your Emergency Signs and Systems
If a natural disaster threatens your office, your staff will rely on your building’s emergency notification systems to alert them of danger. Make sure your emergency signs and systems are up to code by having them inspected annually. This will ensure your fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and extinguishers are functional, and your emergency exits are properly illuminated.
Manage Productivity During a Natural Disaster
In order for your business to function effectively during — and minimize losses and business interruption after — a natural disaster, it is critical for you to have an operations and staffing management response plan in place. There are a number of employment laws that go in effect during times of emergency or disaster to protect employees who may experience a layoff, time-off, or reduced hours. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay exempt employee’s full salary if a worksite is closed or unable to resume operations within a full workweek following a natural disaster. If you need help getting prepared for the worst, rely on the leading provider of HR services for small and medium businesses.
Administrative Relief After a Natural Disaster
At PER, we deal with all areas of PEO Management, which includes helping you formulate and implement an organized natural disaster plan for your office that covers any challenge that may disrupt your flow of business. For administrative or human resource assistance following a natural disaster, call PER today at 888-599-4991.