Even though it may be cold, early spring is a great time to develop or review a severe weather plan. Thunderstorms, heavy rains and flooding occur on a regular basis during spring and summer in Missouri. Severe weather can affect a business in many ways including utility and communications outages, structural damage, machine and fleet damage, and temporary loss of employee base. Develop a plan for both your family and your business that includes discussion about proper sheltering and protection of employees, and protection of critical business assets or processes.
Create your plan with a back-to-the basics approach.
- Identify weather threats that are most likely to affect your business.
- Provide all locations and job sites with a NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) weather alert radio that is appropriately programmed and activated at all times.
- Locate and label hardened inner rooms in your facility capable of sheltering all employees, including visitors.
- Create and maintain a current employee roster to be used when accounting for all employees.
- Develop a communication plan for employees concerning a severe weather threat.
- Identify critical processes that must be addressed, controlled or shut down in the event of severe weather.
- Execute regularly scheduled severe weather plan training for all employees.
What if your employees don’t work in a building? Consider the following:
- Know the forecast. Use smart phones to stay abreast of weather changes.
- Know where the nearest hardened shelter is and if possible, create an agreement with a neighboring business for jobsite severe weather sheltering.
- On multi-employer jobsites, know who assumes command of the incident and how the chain of command works.
- Create a severe weather warning system for employees on loud jobsites, such as a canned air horn or emergency light.
- When driving, pay attention to the weather. If things look rough employees should pull over and get out of the vehicle and into a hardened building.
- If trapped in a vehicle, employees should keep their seat belt on and stay inside the rigid protection of the vehicle. Many people have been ejected and killed when winds tossed their vehicle.
Severe weather safety resources for businesses: