Should my Business have an Emergency Management Plan?
An emergency management plan is not only helpful for your business, it's also a legal requirement. Find out more about how to create one here.
What is an Emergency Management Plan?
An emergency management plan is a written set of instructions outlining what workers should do in a workplace emergency situation. Along with other workplace policies, this will give your employees a clear understanding of your workplace and what to do if something unexpected happens. A good and effective emergency management plan protects your business by preparing for unexpected disruptions. As a result, it needs to be up to date to ensure that you’re ready if an emergency arises. Further, it must be based on the hazards associated with your particular workplace.
Factors to consider
When you draft an emergency management plan, it’s important to take certain factors into account. These include:
The nature of the work carried out
The nature of the work carried out affects what type of hazards you need to consider. For example, if your business involves handling huge amounts of confidential data, you will need to consider data protection measures. If your business operates heavy machinery, you need to ensure every employee knows how to use it safely.
Nature of the hazards
The nature of the hazard affects the measures you need to take to mitigate it. Physical hazards will need to be managed through practices such as providing first aid training.
Size and location of the workplace
You will need to consider how large your workplace is and where it’s located. It is likely that the larger your workplace is, the more hazards there might be. Further, your hazard prevention methods may need to be more in-depth if your workplace is located rurally.
What it needs to include
An effective emergency management plan consists of three plans: continuity, emergency management, and recovery. The continuity plan should include a risk management table, critical business area analysis, possible scenarios, and current insurance plans. This includes an analysis of the impact, likelihood, and mitigation strategy of an emergency. The emergency management plan should include emergency contacts, emergency procedures, an evacuation drill, and the roles and responsibilities of the workers. The recovery plan should include the estimated impact on the business, recovery contacts, insurance claims, and your marketing strategy subsequent to the emergency situation.
Why should your business have it?
It’s a legal requirement
It is a requirement that PCBUs (People Conducting Businesses or Undertaking) have and maintain an emergency management plan. Additionally, regulation 43 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 provides that there is a duty to prepare, maintain, and implement an emergency management plan. If your business fails to abide by the rules, you may get fined.
To prepare for the unexpected
You need to expect the unexpected. For example, everyday, there is a risk of a natural disaster occurring or a fire breaking out. If your business does not have a guide as to how to handle the situation, then your business or employees may be at a loss as to what to do. Not having a plan also puts your employees at risk of injury and even death.
To mitigate losses
It is very important for your business to have a back-up plan should an emergency occur. This way, you can minimise your losses. For example, if you have data protection measures and there is a data breach, you can minimise the damage caused. Therefore, an effective plan will ensure that your business is not significantly interrupted.
To fulfil your duty to your employees
Although it is not expressly written, it is your duty to your employees to provide a safe work environment. Failing to do so will not only put your employees at risk, but also leave you open to legal action being taken if any avoidable accidents happen.
To conclude, if you are a person conduct business, you will need an emergency management plan. The law requires that businesses have an emergency plan and it is also a way for you and your business to mitigate losses if something unexpected happens. If you want further information about planning for your business, it is worth consulting a business lawyer.
Ryan currently works in the content team as a Legal Intern for Lawpath. He is in his third year of a Bachelor of Law and Business degree at UTS.