In the news: events that could threaten your workforce

Over the past few weeks we have seen a number of critical events threaten the safety and well being of people around the world. With warnings that natural disasters are increasing coupled with the unpredictable nature of terror attacks, businesses are facing new challenges when it comes to protecting their workforce.

Wildfires

Wildfires have broken out across Australia with over 90 fires burning in the New South Wales region, 47 of which cannot be contained. Local health officials advised people to stay indoors as much as possible and those with heart and lung problems were told to avoid all outdoor activity. Wildfires pose a huge threat to individuals as they can consume acres of land in minutes. 

Wildfires are becoming more deadly as heatwaves and droughts increase the risk and alter their behaviour dramatically. Changes to the climate are resulting in more widespread fires and longer fire seasons and there has been an increase in the intensity and frequency of wildfires.

Terror attacks 

Despite the current terror attack threat level dropping to substantial, the UK recently suffered an attack that cost three people their lives. The incident happened in London Bridge with the assailant stabbing two people before being fatally shot by police.

Unfortunately, attacks like this are not uncommon and similar incidents have happened across the world throughout the year. The number of terrorist attacks across Europe has risen in recent years with data revealing that there were 30 attacks in Western Europe in 2016 compared to 23 in 2015, two in 2014 and five in 2013.

In March 2019, 51 people were killed and another 47 injured in three separate attacks in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. The attacks involved a series of shootings at mosques in the area. The youngest victim killed during the incident was just four years old. 

Volcanoes 

Volcanic eruptions don’t tend to happen often but when they do, they cause mass destruction and are often fatal. On the 9th December at approximately 14:11, the White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted, killing at least five people and injuring many others. 

At the time of the eruption, individuals were touring the volcanoes crater with employees from the tour company who are, sadly, thought to be among the fatalities. Rescue trips were attempted initially but it has now been ruled too dangerous for rescuers to visit the site.

Protecting your workforce

Unfortunately it’s impossible to predict when a dangerous event will occur and whether or not your employees will be affected. Hundreds of individuals get caught up in incidents every single day, many of whom are likely to be working at the time. Whilst these events are often unforeseeable, employers have a responsibility to prevent their employees from coming to harm during a critical event, whether they are working at an office or remotely.

So how can you prepare for these kind of disasters? Firstly, by carrying out a risk assessment to identify risks to your staff from terrorism, natural disasters, fires or active shooters. Once these risks have been identified, you can put measures in place to prevent or reduce them, such as;

  • Implementing evacuation and shut down procedures
  • Ensuring there are emergency alarms on work premises
  • Provide staff training on responding in emergency situations
  • Ensure there are effective measures in place to locate and communicate with employees

There are also apps and software available to help companies manage the task of contacting their workforce during an incident.

IncidentEye is an easy to use tech-based solution that allows organisations to communicate with and locate employees in or near an incident zone. The innovative technology helps you meet your duty of care by rapidly locating and protecting employees during a crisis, such as a natural disaster or terror attack.

For more information on our incident management solutions, visit our product page.

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