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Small Businesses Fall Short In Safety Planning

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 6/7/2013

Staples survey shows that less than half of all small businesses are adequately prepared for emergencies and disasters.

Emergencies happen whether you're ready for them or not--and according to Staples' second annual Business Safety Survey, most small businesses lack necessary emergency plans and workplace safety resources.

Small Business Safety Concerns

Surprisingly, the lack of preparedness isn't because small business owners aren't concerned about emergencies and natural disasters. Natural disasters are a top-of-mind concern for workers and approximately 60 percent of owners said that recent events, including Hurricane Sandy, have caused them to re-evaluate their safety plans.

However, less than half of small businesses reported that they are prepared for severe emergencies or that they regularly communicate safety plans across their organizations. Three-quarters of business owners believe their companies take safety seriously, but one in four employees said that their employers only communicate about emergencies at the last minute.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 38 percent of small businesses do not offer safety training or drills
  • Medium-sized businesses were more likely than small businesses to have plans for evacuation (90%), shelter in place (46%) and building lockdown (56%)
  • Medium-sized businesses reported having more safety equipment on-site than small businesses

Savvy business owners understand that healthy work environments are a critical for improving employee morale and protecting the wellbeing of their workers. Some emergency response issues, e.g. data backup and retrieval, also play a role in ensuring business continuity following a natural disaster or other occurrence.

By developing a comprehensive emergency response and workplace safety plan, employers can significantly improve the effectiveness and security of their operations, both during and after emergency events.

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