Storm Preparation For Your Business or Office

Storm Preparation For Your Business or Office

Storm Preparation For Your Business or Office

You have a responsibility as an employer to keep your employees safe, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). You need to take steps to protect them from severe weather, even when you have little warning that it will strike.

You should know about the potential hazards in your region and take steps to minimize harm. The best way to avoid employee injuries and financial disaster is to create an emergency plan before a storm touches down.

What to Include in a Severe Weather Plan for Your Business

Do you know where you and your employees would go if a tornado, hurricane, or other severe weather event occurs? If not, decide now while things are calm. If a storm heads your way, having everyone running in different directions will only add to the chaos and confusion.

Underground areas, such as the basement of your business or a shelter, are the best places to wait out a storm (unless it involves flooding). If you can't go underground, move to an internal hallway on the lowest possible floor. Be sure to advise anyone on site to stay away from doors and windows until the storm passes. Here are other actions that you or your employees can take:

  • Create a system for knowing who is in the building and where each employee is stationed at a given time.
  • Assign specific duties to managers, such as counting people as they arrive in the safe place.
  • Account for each person as they reach the area predesignated as a safe shelter.
  • Practice storm drills often and make sure that all employees know their assigned roles.
  • Assemble a storm preparedness kit that includes a flashlight, battery-operated radio, batteries, food, water, first aid kit, electric generator, battery-powered smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency phone numbers.

Keep in mind that OSHA requires certain types of businesses to have an Emergency Action Plan in place per regulation (See: 29 CFR 1910,38).

How to Protect Your Business Property and Assets Before a Storm Hits

Severe weather can turn your life as a business owner upside down in a hurry. Fortunately, you can perform several actions to protect your building, the equipment inside of it, and business documents. For starters, you can secure computers and other valuable office equipment with tie-downs. Other recommendations include:

  • Anchor the largest pieces of furniture and office equipment, such as filing cabinets, to the wall for added safety.
  • If your business is in a flood zone, place sandbags in front of it to form a barrier against heavy rain and rushing water.
  • Place shutters on windows to protect the glass and prevent debris from blowing inside.
  • Turn off utilities after you become aware of an approaching storm that is likely to cause major damage.
  • Back up all documents or make copies and store them in a separate location.