Terror in the workplace: When the worst happens, how do you know your people are safe?
Businesses are increasingly facing a growing number of large-scale incidents that can affect the well-being of their employees and the organisation’s ability to operate. In the aftermath of a terror attack or other disaster situation, the failure to prepare and respond effectively leaves the business and its employees vulnerable, and will considerably prolong an incident – costing valuable time and resources in the process.
While many of us plan and prepare for the practical side of disaster management, the questions around our team members’ safety are arguably the most difficult to address. Yet with our most important assets being our people, is there is more that we can and should be doing to protect them in the event of an incident?
Rising threat levels
The type of incidents businesses face could vary greatly depending on a number of factors; from geography and the work environment to individual ways of working and the job roles performed. Some examples include;
Natural disasters: Storms, earthquakes, floods and natural fires
Manmade events: Fires, plane crashes, public transport disruption and road incidents
Criminal activities: Terrorism, shootings, riots and vandalism
Business continuity issues: Power outages, water or gas leaks and cyber attacks
Just this month we have seen several large-scale incidents around the world. In Colorado, wildfires have displaced thousands of individuals from their homes and places of work, while 600 homes in Hawaii have been destroyed by lava following a volcanic eruption. Elsewhere, in the UK the threat of terror attacks remains ‘severe’, violent crime consumes the media, and extreme storms around much of the world have caused power outages, flooding and general disruption.
Climate change experts predict an increase in natural disasters with warmer temperatures and high tides resulting in more flooding, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes. Coupled with the increase in population and development over a wider geography, more and more lives are being affected each year.
The number of terrorist attacks has also risen in recent years. In 2016, 77 countries were affected by terrorism, while Europe experienced the greatest increase. Data revealed that there were 30 attacks in Western Europe in 2016 compared to 23 in 2015, 2 in 2014 and 5 in 2013.
Such incidents are beyond our control and often take us by surprise. Businesses that once faced few large-scale threats are seeing an increasing number of events happening around them. Plus, with an increasingly varied and mobile workforce, locating staff and managing the effects of an incident has become even more unpredictable and difficult for businesses to contain.
Managing employees during an incident
Perhaps the first step and the greatest challenge in the aftermath of an incident is locating employees who could be affected and ensuring their safety.
As more organisations turn towards less traditional ways of operating, such as utilising remote and lone workers, manual methods are no longer a viable solution. Calling employees individually is much too time-consuming during a time-critical situation, and missing a call leaves both the employee and the employer in the dark.
Fortunately, developments in technology and the widespread use of mobile devices today are providing solutions to many of our incident management challenges. Whether it be warning individuals of a nearby incident, providing peace of mind for friends, family and employers, or communicating practical advice necessary to keep safe, technology is able to offer a solution.
But how can technology provide a way for businesses with a large and varied workforce to locate and protect their employees?
At StaySafe we have recently launched a new app called IncidentEye, which has been specifically designed to help organisations locate and protect employees as quickly and effectively as possible during an emergency. IncidentEye allows you to quickly answer the most important questions a business faces in the aftermath of an event; are my employees in the affected area and are they safe?
The IncidentEye app can be distributed via MDM; from the Apple Apps Store or Google Play and lays dormant on an employee’s phone until an incident is activated in the hub. Using geofencing, the affected area can be isolated on a map and all employees within the vicinity will be immediately alerted via the app with details of the event and prompted to specify whether they are safe or in danger. This enables you to focus on the employees who need assistance, with no disruption for unaffected staff.
IncidentEye maintains privacy by notifying employees whenever their location is collected. Location data should only ever be used for safety purposes which is maintained through a fair use policy and the inability to view location without employee knowledge.
When an incident is active, monitors can view employees’ safety status in real time and respond accordingly. In-app messages can be sent to the affected individuals or groups of individuals, with crucial information. For example, you may choose to;
- Instruct those in the affected area to evacuate
- Warn those nearby to avoid the affected area
- Provide official government advice on how to deal with the situation
- Update employees as the incident progresses and once it is resolved
Ultimately, IncidentEye provides a way for businesses to continue to run as smoothly as possible by accounting for all employees and focusing support where it is needed most. Having a reliable and efficient solution in place not only provides peace of mind for the business but for the workforce as a whole.
With IncidentEye, businesses are able to locate and protect their employees when an incident occurs, better meet their duty of care and ensure that the organisation can recover quickly and effectively following a disaster.
For more information visit our incident management page.
For a personalised demo and pricing please contact us.
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