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.
An important step to getting prepared is finding 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.
Keeping everyone healthy and safe at work doesn’t necessarily mean buying expensive equipment and lots of paperwork. It does mean taking a proactive approach and getting everyone at work involved. Find out more at business.govt.nz.
Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, 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.
Your plan should include the following.
Business.govt.nz has a guide on what to include in your emergency planning, including identifying risks, developing emergency procedures, insurance cover and contacting and supporting staff.
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 families, 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.
This personal workplace emergency plan will help you plan for an emergency during working hours.
Resilient Organisations has advice for looking after staff after an emergency, called Staffed or Stuffed.
In an emergency, your staff may be stuck at work or unable to take transport home for a day or more.
Ensure you have enough supplies for everyone onsite, including visitors, to get through the first few days together.
Think about the following scenarios.
Develop a contingency plan for your whole business, including staff, information, assets, customers, suppliers and distribution channels.
Follow the Shut Happens action task list to create contingency plans for your business.
Get involved in your local business community. Get to know your local Chamber of Commerce, industry organisations, business neighbours, competitors and suppliers and talk to them about their emergency and business continuity plans. In an emergency, you may be able to help each other get back up and running faster by sharing equipment, premises, etc.
Rural communities, businesses and individuals need to adapt and build resilience to adverse events, like natural disasters, severe weather, and biosecurity incursions.
Your animals are your responsibility. You need to include them in your emergency planning and preparation. Failing to plan for them in case a disaster happens (such as an earthquake or flood) puts lives at risk.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has advice for preparing a plan for your animals in an emergency, including checklists for different types of animals and different emergencies. Work through the checklists to develop your plan.