Planning on a Disaster?

by Charles T. Wilson on November 11, 2014

Humans are wonderful procrastinators. Our knee-jerk defense is, “Well, it won’t happen to me…!” And yet hardly a week goes by without news of businesses and homes destroyed by wildfires, floods, tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Prepare for survival

We can’t prevent natural disasters, but it’s not hard to prepare for survival. Large-scale losses like these mean you will be on your own for days or weeks. How long is too long for your business? Government assistance is known to be slow and quite limited; and insurance settlements, if any, will certainly be delayed.

So contingency or response planning – to mitigate your down-time – is all you’ve got. One basic or generic plan can work well for different contingencies. Are you going to have something ready? Or will you wing it?

Questions needing your attention

  • Do you have readily accessible (from anywhere) contact information for employees, customers, suppliers and recovery experts (legal, tax, insurance)?
  • Are your business-critical processes written down step-by-step so anyone can follow? Have at least two employees been cross-trained in each of these critical tasks?
  • Can employees work securely from off-site? Have you tested it recently?
  • Where’s your data – on a disc or USB drive or in the cloud? Is it really accessible?  Have you tested it recently?
  • If you need to shelter in place, do you have adequate supplies for all employees?  What else needs to be prepared? Have employees taken personal precautions?

Resources

Call me (510-685-3883) or email  (charles@risksmartsolutions.com) if you need clarifying, no-obligation discussion about how to get this done. RiskSmart Solutions can help if you need assistance.

And, of course, if you have other resources to share please let me know and I’ll pass them along.

 

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Stop! You’re Driving Dangerously!

by Charles T. Wilson on October 8, 2014

Driving is dangerous enough by itself – and with rush hour traffic all day long, tight schedules and all kinds of cars, trucks and motorcycles trying to change lanes in front of you, it’s even worse.

  • The National Safety Council reports that “Highway incidents remain the leading cause of occupational death” – estimated at 35% to 40% of all work fatalities.
  • When you add cell phones to driving as an added distraction, you have a killer formula. The NSC again: “… driving while talking on a cell phone puts drivers at a four-times greater crash risk.”
  • Texting or emailing while driving causes these statistics to skyrocket – up to 23-times greater collision risk.

Employers can be Liable

Many businesses encourage workers to be connected and available at all times.  Customers insist on fast answers, and after-hours questions and calls have become the norm. These expectations dictate employee behavior and can make employers liable for auto accidents, injuries and deaths – even during off hours.

Recent examples have employers settling lawsuits for:

  • $4 million: an off-duty police officer was texting before a fatal crash that killed a college student
  • $5.2 million: an employee was speeding and talking on a company-issued cell phone when he rear-ended a woman who lost her arm in the accident
  • $21.6 million: an employee in a company vehicle ran a red light while talking to her husband on a cell phone at the time of the fatal crash.

[Sources: Bureau of National Affairs,www.bna.com; www.nolo.com]

“Most employers don’t realize they’re exposing more of their corporate assets than in any other way” when employees drive on business, says a representative of Liberty Mutual Insurance. The annual cost to businesses of auto accidents and cell phone use is estimated at more than $60 billion.

Make an Impact

While it may be unrealistic to eliminate all cell phone use while driving, here are several measures that will promote safety and protect you as an employer:

  • Update driving policies: A well-written policy – that is enforced – can significantly improve safety and minimize your liability.
    • Define and limit work-related cell phone use while driving.
    • Regularly explain your policy – tell everyone about the safety concerns.
    • Employees who are “on call” can check in before leaving or after arriving at the next appointment.
    • Provide defensive driving courses for all employees.
  • Set the example –
    • Minimize/eliminate your conversations while driving. Don’t answer in heavy traffic; ask others to keep it short and send you an email so you don’t have to take notes.
    • Notice when the person you are calling is driving and schedule a call for later or send an email.
  • Insist your employees and co-workers do the same – for their safety and your own. Not only can you lose a key employee, but you can be liable for all bodily injury and property damages caused.

Have a safety question or insurance concern?  Email or give me a call – but not from your car! There’s never an obligation and I’d be pleased to hear from you.

 (510-685-3883 | charles@risksmartsolutions.com)

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