Changing weather should prompt safety review
Maybe you should check the weather forecast.
Maybe you also should bolster your relationship with the insurance professional who provides your business coverage.
It's probably a good idea to check with the agency that covers your car, home and household goods as well. Although forecasting is far more accurate than it was just a few years back, weather events -- especially storms with big hailstones, strong winds and flooding rain -- often seem to have their own destinations. And while we haven't suffered nearly as much as businesses in the traditional Tornado Alley states, veteran business attorney Jim Poznak suggests business owners should have "as much insurance coverage as you can afford."
If appropriate, Poznak suggests talking to your agent about adjusting deductibles and, therefore, costs to provide the safety your business and workers need. Poznak is the lawyer at Poznak Law Firm Ltd., in Oak Brook. (So you know, he also is my company's attorney.)
Whatever the risk, your primary goal likely should be to protect employees and, depending on the nature of your business, customers or other on-site visitors.
A plan that protects the people in your business when a storm hits is similar to the plan that will protect you and your family at home:
• You might want a weather radio in your facility.
• Have a storm shelter that staff, visitors or customers can reach easily. Just like at home, basements probably work best. If there is no basement or it is too far away, look for a small, interior room that doesn't have windows.
If the best option is a room with windows, keep the windows closed and stay as far from them as possible; the center of the room often is safest. Other planning thoughts:
• Designate a meetup place where, when the danger has passed, you can do a head-count and note any injuries.
• Know who's at work. Your daily sign-in system likely will work for this information, but you'll also want to know who has a client or prospect visiting your facility.
• Your employee records will help with contact information, but likely won't be much help in tracing visitors. The staffer a guest is visiting should have some ability to reach back to the guest's home company If those clouds turn out to be a tornado that finds your facility,
• Get help for any injured persons. Know the number to call and the individual to request for any injured employee.
• Whether they use company vehicles or their own transportation, employees who drive for your business -- deliveries, for example, or repair crews -- should be required to review safe driving tips that include the traditional safety practices but also such reminders as not driving on flooded streets or roads and staying clear of water-filled viaducts.
Safety review training should be at least an annual affair. You'll know better than I, but perhaps your plan should be bilingual.
Additional planning information is available at https://www.ready.gov/business.