Picking up the pieces after a disaster is never easy or inexpensive.
Globally, natural disasters inflicted $175 billion worth of damage in 2016, according to Munich RE. Seventy percent of losses were uninsured. And with 2017's monstrous hurricane season and record-breaking fires on the West Coast, this is shaping up to be the most costly year for natural disasters in recent memory.
Never easy. Never inexpensive. But with careful planning, communities can safely return to normality. What precautions should your business take as it repairs its operations in the wake of a hurricane, snowstorm, wildfires or other extreme weather event?
1. Think about your employees
Chances are good that if your offices, facilities or work sites were affected by inclement weather, the homes of your employees or contractors were equally compromised.
First and foremost, companies ought to do everything in their power to make the cleanup process as clear and straightforward as possible. But first, they must account for the psychological toll the event might have had on employees. Workers will have disasters of their own to contend with. A return to business as usual takes a second seat to ensuring the well-being of workers and their families, both physically and emotionally.
2. Run safety checks on everything
Destroyed building facades, ripped-up roads, broken windows - these are clear safety risks. Others, however, won't be as noticeable.
Damaged electrical systems, contaminated floodwater and exposure to mold and insulation can jeopardize your workers' health if recovery teams at your business do not address these issues with equal attention. Perform rigorous safety inspections on every piece of equipment and every tool to ensure they are all in safe working order.
Moreover, leaking dangerous goods containers can further complicate an already complex cleanup effort. But remember: Haste during a rebuild will only delay recovery in the long run. Follow every protocol, document every action, report every concern to the proper authorities and never sacrifice safety for speed.
3. Communicate with supply partners
Your suppliers may have avoided the brunt of the extreme weather that upended your business, but that doesn't mean they're in the clear. Damage to surrounding infrastructure may require them to take alternate routes or make temporary alternative arrangements to continue working with your company.
As pressing as your own problems may be, always meet suppliers halfway and be forthcoming with information regarding your own struggles. The strongest bonds, they say, are forged in fire.
IndustrySafe safety management software helps businesses to identify trouble spots, to reduce incidents, and protect the safety of their workforce. Request a free demo today.