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Workplace Practices Can Help Control Weather's Impact
Heartwarming News for Those Frosted by Recent Cold
(RIVERWOODS, ILL , January 27, 2000) Companies
paralyzed by plummeting temperatures and relentless storms across the U.S. can take steps
before mother nature strikes again to ensure that harsh weather doesnt spell
business disaster, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of worker
safety and employment law information.
"While severe weather of any kind presents
special workplace challenges, companies can help ensure theyre not blindsided by bad
weather if they follow some simple steps," said Nancy Kaylor, CCH workplace analyst.
"The first, and most important step, is developing a checklist for an emergency
Developing Emergency Contingency Plans
There are weather-related practices and policies that companies can adopt under an
emergency contingency plan to help protect their employees and keep their businesses
going. Although each company should tailor a plan to fit its specific needs, the steps
that companies should follow in developing an effective emergency contingency plan are the
The following provides a checklist to follow in developing such plans:
- Organize a dedicated group:
Establish a committee of members from each significant part of the business. Name a
chairperson with authority to get the plan done, set timeframes and clarify
accountabilities. Ensure strong executive support.
- Plan for the worst possible scenarios:
Have each member assume the worst and list emergency situations that could affect the
organization and its employees. Identify items that are of most importance to continuing
the business such as records and the ability to communicate.
- Identify internal alternatives:
For items of most importance to the business, determine if there were any alternatives
that could have been pursued before the disaster to avoid total loss. Alternatives
include: maintain duplicate records at a different site; use equipment located at another
business or worksite; store critical information such as accounts receivable, client
information, vendor and personnel records or outstanding billings in a safe and secure
place such as a bank vault.
- Verify external alternatives, contingencies and insurance:
In addition to planning alternatives, committee members should include the following in
their emergency planning efforts:
- Determine the adequacy of fire and disaster insurance.
- Complete emergency evacuation planning, including periodic drills, special
considerations for disabled employees and coordination with local emergency and fire
- Establish a plan for an alternate worksite during the emergency, including records,
staff and support such as telephone, equipment and related supports. Consider a reciprocal
relationship with a vendor or competitor.
- Specify under what circumstances a facility will be closed, who makes the decision, how
the decision is communicated and whether the employees will be compensated. Consider the
use of the EAP hotline or another number to function as a hotline.
- Establish emergency call-in numbers for employees. Provide information to all employees
in a written form such as a wallet card.
- Coordinate contingency planning with other safety and workplace violence planning.
Dont reinvent the wheel.
- Establish a relationship with a local radio or television station in case of an
- If your company operates 24 hours a day or provides critical services, determine the
plan for alternative electricity, water storage and other routine public services.
- Plan public relations responsibilities thoroughly. Plan for more than one backup
About CCH INCORPORATED
CCH INCORPORATED, Riverwoods, Ill., is a leading provider of human resources, tax and
business law information and services. The companys Human Resources Group is among
the nations most authoritative sources of employment law, including information on
benefits, compensation, worker safety and human resources management. Its publications and
software for human resource professionals include Human Resources Management,
Pension Plan Guide, Benefits Guide and Payroll Management Guide. CCH is
a wholly owned subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer U.S. The CCH web site can be accessed at www.cch.com. The Human Resources Group web
site can be accessed at hr.cch.com.
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