Emergency Preparedness: Is Your Business Ready?


September is National Preparedness Month, with the theme “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

By its nature, an emergency is an unforeseen crisis, but employers can plan ahead to minimize the damage when an emergency strikes.

Employers have an obligation to create safe workplaces. California employers may be faced with many types of natural disasters or other emergencies, including: fires; earthquakes; extreme weather (storms, high heat); floods; chemical or hazardous spills or releases; incidents of violence, including terrorist attacks.

In California, all employers are required to have an “Emergency Action Plan” that designates the actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety from fire and other emergencies. All Emergency Action Plans must be in writing, except employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plan orally to their employees and do not need to maintain a written plan.

According to a recent Career Builder survey, workers feel safe in their workplaces overall. But they aren’t as confident when it comes to specific threats and how prepared their employer is to handle them:

• 17% do not feel their workplaces are well-protected in case of a fire, flood or other disaster, and 22% don’t believe their companies have emergency plans in place should such events occur.

• 19% do not feel their workplaces are well-protected from weather-related threats, and 26% do not think their companies have an emergency plan in place if they were ever faced with extremely severe weather.

• 31% do not feel their workplace is well-protected from a physical threat from another person, and 41% do not believe their company has an emergency plan in place in case of a physical attack from another person.

• 31% do not feel their workplaces are well-protected from a digital hacking threat, and 39% do not feel their companies have an emergency plan in place in the event of a technology security breach.

Make sure you take steps to identify particular risks relevant to your workplace and to your employees in developing your Emergency Action Plan.

HRCalifornia members can read more about Emergency Action Plans in the HR Library. Cal/OSHA offers resources as well.

Staff Contact: Gail Cecchettini Whaley