Health and Safety Should Be Part Of Your Daily Business Activity

September 6th, 2010

The devastating earthquake and damage in Canterbury over the last week as well as the smaller quakes experienced in Hawkes Bay are a timely reminder for business owners to look at their own operations.

Here are some questions to as ask yourself if your business suffered a disaster similar to Christchurch:

  • What impact would that have on you
  • Could you continue to operate
  • What would happen to your cashflow
  • What would happen to your staff

You can’t change what nature may dish out, but you can minimise your risk.

Immediate Action – Safety is Paramount

Have an Emergency Response Plan or something similar for your staff to follow if there is an incident

  • Any emergency event is stressful, so consider a flip-chart or easy to read document for them to follow which has key steps that need to be implemented.
  • Have it at a central and easy to access location
  • Make sure all staff are aware of it and its content
  • Make sure key emergency numbers are included – this might be other staff members, industry support, security firms
  • How to evacuate and where to assemble
  • Who to notify
  • What to take
  • Up to date next of kin details

Contingency Issues – Preparation Is Vital

  • What insurance do you have for business interruption – how would you cope if you were closed for days, weeks or even months?
  • If a key person in your business is unable to return to work, do you have sufficient systems that allow others to take over that role
  • What insurance do you have in place for protecting key roles
  • How is your IT data backed up and is it off site
  • If you were unable to get back into your business do you have client information, financial information, key business information available to you

Make Health and Safety part of normal day to day business activities

Health and Safety often gets lip service paid to it, but if you want to make sure that your work environment is safe for everyone that works and visits there then H&S needs to be at the forefront of what you do. Consider:

  • Having a H&S committee that meets on a regular basis and is made up from a selection of staff
  • Always have H&S on any meeting agenda
  • Have regular reviews around your business operations
  • Cultivate a climate where everyone in your business looks out each other

Incidents large or small can occur at any time.   It may be something as catastrophic as the Canterbury Quake to a staff member injuring themselves in the workplace.   Often businesses won’t be judged on what has occurred but on how they respond and react.

So prepare yourself, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

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