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How to Prepare Your Contracting Business for Emergencies

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By: Holly Welles, The Estate Update

Published: June 20, 2019

Despite your best efforts, your projects won't always go according to plan. The weather could take a sudden turn, or an employee might accidentally mishandle a piece of heavy equipment. Regardless of the reason, accidents happen, and you have to prepare your contracting business for the unexpected.

Of course, you can't eliminate risk, but you can take steps to mitigate it. When you review and refine your current practices, you'll preempt problems and minimize the risk of serious issues at your job site. By extension, you'll enjoy a significant reduction in downtime and keep your projects on track.

That said, it isn't always simple to keep an operation running smoothly when you're managing an emergency. It's often difficult to think clearly and logically in the middle of a crisis. Fortunately, proper planning can keep you and your crew safe, as long as you follow best practices for emergency preparedness.

With that in mind, here are five simple strategies to ensure your present and future success.

1. Pinpoint areas of improvement.

OSHA suggests contractors include their managers and employees when developing an emergency action plan. They can provide valuable insight into potential hazards and where emergencies might occur. They can also reveal areas of your operation that need improvement.

A planning meeting is also a good opportunity to impart various responsibilities to your crew members. Since a standard emergency plan assigns actions to designated individuals, you should take time to sit down with your crew and explain the details of your updated protocol in order to make sure everyone is on the same page.

2. Reinforce training with drills.

When you've educated your employees on disaster protocol, they'll have the training they need to take action in stressful situations. Concerning the process itself, you will need to give thought to your evacuation processes, the proper use of emergency equipment, and other related areas OSHA deems essential.

Beyond training, you should follow up with practice drills to keep your employees vigilant. When they understand how to identify and respond to hazards, you can trust them to address issues without the guidance of a supervisor. After all, accident prevention on a job site is a collective responsibility.

3. Stay current with forecasts.

It's possible to plan for natural disruptions like weather by checking the forecast. Naturally, forecasts aren't always accurate, but you can trust them to give you a fair idea. When you review the daily and weekly predictions, you can use the information to prevent weather-related issues on a job site.

You should also sign up for National Weather Service alerts to receive any relevant updates through your mobile device. It's smart to keep an all-weather radio receiver on site and map out emergency escape routes and local flood zones. The location of the nearest medical facility will prove useful as well.

4. Transfer data to the cloud.

Contracting projects often require an enormous amount of paperwork. The safety of yourself and your employees takes priority, but you also need to account for your physical and digital files. Your contracts, permits, specifications, and essential documents can all disappear in the event of a disaster.

With that in mind, organize a protection plan for your records. For example, a cloud-based solution can protect your data, holding duplicates of your digital files you can easily access. This step is necessary, as electronic records on a company computer are just as susceptible to damage.

5. Invest in emergency systems.

The likelihood of accidents and injuries will increase without a reliable source of power. Storms, high winds, and flash floods are already dangerous on their own, but when the lights go out, the risk of these natural disasters will rise exponentially. Fortunately, it's relatively simple to secure the safety of your crew.

If you own a bigger operation and are working a large project, a backup generator can power your business when the weather affects the grid. It's a necessary precaution that will help your employees maintain their awareness in an emergency, allowing them to address it without issue. Placing light towers throughout major construction sites is also advisable.

Preparing Your Contracting Business for the Worst

Your projects won't always go according to plan, and that's okay. Though you can't eliminate risk, the five strategies above are effective for preventing and managing emergencies. As long as you consult your workers for suggestions, reinforce their training, and follow the other tips on this list, you can feel confident in the safety of your workers and the success of your growing business.