Emergencies can happen anytime, including during business hours. You can’t predict when they will happen, but you can take actions to make your business more prepared.

Make an emergency plan for your business 

Emergencies can happen anytime, including during business hours. Businesses have an obligation to be prepared for an emergency. In most cases we can’t predict when an emergency will happen. But we can make plans to make sure our staff are safe, our financial and personal losses are reduced and we are able to get back to business as soon as possible. 

Find out what the risks are and how they can impact on your business. Risks include natural hazards, health emergencies and utility failures. If you have staff, talk to them about the risks they think are most relevant to your business. 

Your emergency plan should include the following. 

  • Emergency procedures for fire, earthquake, tsunami and other hazards. 
  • Assembly points, wardens and first aid training.  
  • How to contact staff, suppliers, clients and insurance providers. 
  • Alternative arrangements if you are unable to access your premises, files, etc. 

When planning, make sure you talk to your disabled staff. Find out what support they might need if there's an emergency. Also think about how you might need to help any visitors who have a disability. 

Get involved in your local business community. In an emergency, you may be able to help each other get back up and running faster. Get to know your local Chamber of Commerce, industry organisations, business neighbours, competitors and suppliers. Talk to them about their emergency and business continuity plans.  

It’s also good to develop a contingency plan for your whole business. It should include staff, information, assets, customers, suppliers and distribution channels. 

  • Identify your core business needs, and how you’d manage in an emergency. 
  • Back up your data. 
  • Know how to contact staff and suppliers. 
  • Test your back up systems. 

Business.govt.nz has lots of advice on emergency planning for businesses. 

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Use this guide on what to include in your emergency planning from business.govt.nz.

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Keeping everyone healthy and safe at work doesn’t mean buying expensive equipment and doing lots of paperwork. It does mean taking a proactive approach and getting everyone at work involved.

Look after your staff

Emergencies can happen anytime, including during business hours. Businesses have an obligation to be prepared for an emergency. In most cases we can’t predict when an emergency will happen. But we can make plans to make sure our staff are safe. 

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your staff, including caring for them during and after emergencies. 

Start by involving your staff in identifying risks and making an emergency plan. Talk to them about what they, and their whānau, would need to get through an emergency. 

Make sure your staff have personal workplace emergency plans so they know who to contact at work in an emergency and have a plan to get home safely. 

In an emergency, your staff may be stuck at work or unable to take transport home for a day or more.   

Make sure you have enough supplies for everyone onsite for three days. This should include for visitors too.   

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Find advice for looking after staff after in an emergency.

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Have staff fill in a personal workplace emergency plan to plan for an emergency during work hours.