We spend a lot of time planning for cybersecurity attacks, workplace violence and many other incidents, but what we have learned from the Washington tunnel collapse is that you just cannot predict everything. Tuesday, May 9th, all non-essential workers were evacuated when a section of an underground tunnel containing railcars filled with radioactive waste collapsed. Thankfully, no workers were in the tunnel at the time of the collapse.
Why Should I Plan For a Tunnel Collapse?
Planning for a tunnel collapse that contains radioactive waste might seem a little unnecessary, but it’s not the tunnel collapse that you should be planning for. You should be aware that at any given moment, something completely unexpected could happen and even if it doesn’t happen at your building, you might still feel the effects of it. With the tunnel collapse, as a precautionary measure, hundreds of people who were farther away were told they need to remain indoors for several hours due to the radioactive waste. If that happened in a large city like New York City? Can you imagine what a massive business disruption it would cause? Even a small town would certainly feel the effects. Neighboring cities and businesses would feel the effects, as driving would not be permitted.
How Do I Plan For the Unexpected?
Planning for the unexpected might seem difficult and while it certainly isn’t easy, if you are using the correct method of planning then you will be able to plan for a very wide array of potential incidents. A great way to plan for unexpected incidents is to use the all hazards approach. This approach skips planning for each hazard, as that would be time consuming and near impossible. Instead, you plan for the type of damage expected from an incident. The all hazards approach includes loss of facility, loss or failure of information technology, reduced workforce or a reputational event. By using this approach, you are able to cover all the bases.
In addition, there are a few other ways that you can help your business prepare for unexpected incidents that occur outside of the workplace, such as road closures and bridge collapses.
Here are a few ways that businesses are affected by situations that arise outside of the office:
- Customer service issues
- Backlogged work
- Reduced workforce
- Lost sales opportunities
Here’s how your business can remain up and running during these incidents:
- Implement an emergency messaging system – by having an emergency messaging system, your company will be able to send out text alerts, calls and email notifications to all employees updating them on what’s going on. The emergency messaging system provided within the Preparis Portal enables employees to send back a text stating if they are “OK” or “NOT OK” during a crisis.
- Have a “work from home” policy – During inclement weather, road closures, flooding etc., it’s helpful to have a backup plan for when employees cannot make it in to the office. By having a work from home policy, you are able to ensure that those missed days due to circumstances out of your control don’t affect regular business flow. This can help to prevent lost sales opportunities, customer service issues, reduced workforce and backlogged work.
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