With businesses around England now tentatively opening their doors for customers once again, following recent relaxation of lockdown restrictions, it seems as though we’re all starting to get used to how life is going to be during and following a pandemic outbreak - but one of the biggest concerns for companies is business continuity in the face of a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks.
New research from medical and security services firm International SOS, reported on by Continuity Insurance & Risk magazine, has revealed around 70 per cent of companies consider this to be their key focus over the coming weeks.
Interestingly, however, just 20 per cent of those asked said they expect pandemic-related problems to continue to disrupt over the next year, while approximately 20 per cent also still don’t have a coronavirus plan or process in place at the moment.
The top two priorities for organisations at the moment to ensure a safe return to work for employees were found to be updating business continuity plans and on-the-ground support for colleagues, followed by the introduction of coronavirus compliance monitoring tools, health screening and mental health support.
Regional medical director at International SOS Dr Mark Parrish spoke of the group’s surprise that although the majority of firms are worried about being hit by a second wave, there are still many out there that don’t have a pandemic plan worked out.
“There are many who are missing out on protecting their people and their business. We should be mindful that there may be a layering of issues, such as security incidents and concurrent health issues, which all need to be addressed alongside the continuing pandemic and as we return to work and operations,” he was quoted by the news source as saying.
You can improve safety standards within your organisation and make sure that you have contingency plans in place for all sorts of scenarios by taking effective and proactive preventative measures to mitigate the risks of an incident taking place or minimising the potential outcomes that could cause harm to people, property or the environment.
Preparedness for emergencies is the continuous process of identifying foreseeable risks, reviewing existing response provisions, planning, before testing, exercising, evaluating, combined with training and equipment provisions, and then implementing any required corrective actions.
You must prepare and test your site response plans so you know you have the suitable resources available to enact your emergency response procedures, with planning, exercising, and training at the very heart of this.
Once this has been achieved, you will be confident that you have robust plans which are tested on a frequent basis, by competent personnel who use the appropriate equipment and your current levels of provision are suitable for the risk profile of your site. This will help to reassure that you as an organisation will be able to respond safely and proportionately to catastrophic events or emergencies, including actions to save lives and prevent further damage.
Once the incident is contained, it is likely you will be entering the recovery phase, whilst maintaining business continuity. Activities will continue beyond the emergency period to restore critical functions and stabilise the area that has been affected - and this phase should begin as soon as the threat to human life if such exists, has subsided.
If you have effective emergency response procedures in place, the required recovery period will be minimised and you will find it easier to coordinate the reconstruction of physical infrastructure, as well as restoring emotional, economic, physical and social wellbeing.
This is also the time to start investigating and identifying the root causes of the incident at hand, developing any learning outcomes, and implementing continuous improvement strategies as you go.
Here at HFR Solutions CIC, we provide emergency response services, consultancy and workplace safety training solutions to help make our local communities a safer place in which to work and live.
We share the skills, values, knowledge and expertise of the blue light service with the commercial sector, working very closely with retired, seconded and operational personnel of Fire and Rescue Service to review and test emergency and operating procedures of a wide range of organisations, as well as deploying emergency response teams and delivering workplace safety training.
If there’s one thing that has become very apparent over the last few months, it’s that it is essential to carry out risk assessments and hold effective business contingency plans. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to find out how we can help in this regard.