How Safety of Employees Strengthens With Emergency Preparedness
Safety is a key component of emergency planning: a company must account for unlikely but disastrous contingencies with detailed strategies that cover all the ground between emergency warning systems and evacuation to safe havens.
Rashmi Dastidar, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer (CRCO) of MMTC-PAMP considers scenario-based evacuation planning to be the best tool to tackle emergencies.
Scenario planning is a process of visualizing what future conditions or events are possible, the likelihood of their occurrence, what their consequences or effects would be like, and how to respond to them.
“Preparedness is the key to minimizing the impact of any disaster or emergency. A detailed scenario-based plan, rooted in practical realities can mean the difference between a successful, calm emergency response and catastrophic failure,” says Ms. Dastidar.
For example, in a high-security manufacturing setup, access to entries and exits are normally monitored with manual or tech-based gateposts that check employee IDs.
Ms. Dastidar says, “In the event of a fire, these should be disabled to allow for fast and safe employee evacuation. It’s details like these that are the foundation of a well-prepared and employee safety-focused company.
Scenario planning allows for a deliberate consideration of all such situational measures required, and for these measures to be put into clear guidelines that can be disseminated to employees through effective, regularly reinforced messaging.”
Business continuity planning is also a key component of an effective scenario-based plan. Taking steps to build adequate redundancy into organizations and having a strategy to get key pieces of the business up and running as soon as possible in the aftermath of an emergency are vital to protecting a business. Ms. Dastidar emphasizes however that this always comes after employee safety, which is the first priority. “Our people are our most valued resources,” she adds.
However, many companies struggle with exactly how much needs to be done under the umbrella of travel safety; particularly with the delicate balance between ensuring employee welfare and restricting individual freedoms.
Ms. Dastidar sheds light on the armature she uses in this regard. “The first and foremost requirement is for the company to be compliant with the relevant laws and statutes on employee health and safety in its geography. Of course, some aspects may not have clear laws set out on them. In such situations, it’s advisable to follow the law in spirit, and use the Duty of Care framework to delineate safety guidelines. Beyond that, it’s best to respect individual choice while facilitating and monitoring movement as required.”
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