Post-catastrophe business resumption and Community safety tips to consider

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) (Des Plaines, IL) urges workplaces and communities to be prepared for the before and after of a catastrophic incident such as a tornado. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for business preparedness, but the ASSE, representing more than 33,000 occupational safety and health professionals from around the globe, offers the following safety preparation tips, a disaster safety checklist and resources to assist businesses of all sizes before, during and after a disaster such as flooding, tornados and more.

Do a Risk Assessment
This can range from self-assessment to an extensive engineering study. The specific industry, size and scope of your company determine your organization’s risk assessment needs. Know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company. Find out which natural disasters are most common in the areas where you operate at or learn what to do during a biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear or radiological attack.

Do Emergency Planning Now
Start planning to improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover. Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating; identify operations critical to survival and recovery; include emergency payroll, expedited financial decision-making and accounting systems to track and document costs in the event of a disaster; and establish procedures for succession of management. Include at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if applicable. Homeland Security suggests that you identify your suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis and develop professional relationships with more than one company to use in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs.

Planning
Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible and develop a continuity of operations plan that includes all facets of your business. For instance, determine if you can run the business from a different location or from your home and develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.

Defining Procedures
Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance and make sure those involved know what they are supposed to do, train others in case you need backup help and review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs.

Coordinating with Others
Meet with other businesses in your building or industrial complex; talk with first responders, emergency managers, community organizations and utility providers; plan with your suppliers, shippers and others you regularly do business with; share your plans and encourage other businesses to set in motion their own continuity planning and offer to help others.

Emergency Planning for Employees
Your employees and co-workers are a valuable asset. You need to know what people need to recover after a disaster. It is possible that your staff will need time to ensure the well being of their family members, but getting back to work is important to the personal recovery of people who have experienced disasters. It is important to re-establish routines, when possible.

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