Staples is teaming up with the National Safety Council during National Preparedness Month to provide safety tips and products to help small businesses prepare for emergencies. The new Staples.com Safety Research Center provides guides to help small businesses prepare for common safety issues and emergencies, as well as access to a full assortment of health and safety-related products. A recent Staples survey of small business managers and office workers found that nearly half of office workers either are unsure if an emergency plan exists or say their company doesn’t have a plan.
“Staples is joining forces with the National Safety Council to promote preparedness for any type of emergency, disaster or accident,” said Bob Risk, Senior Strategic Safety, Health and Wellness Manager for Staples. “It’s crucial for small businesses to have everything from a plan in place to the right safety supplies on hand, to ensure the health and well being of their most valuable resource, their employees.”
“The Federal government issues around 70 disaster declarations annually, which means hundreds of businesses, communities and families face unexpected disruption and significant hardship each year,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Good preparation includes designing an emergency action plan to make sure you have the proper emergency supplies and safety products on hand.”
According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a man-made or natural disaster never re-open. To help small businesses take a fresh look at preparedness planning, Staples and the National Safety Council offer these tips:
- Make an emergency plan. Small businesses should post an emergency evacuation plan and emergency action plan. The plan should include: emergency contact numbers, local medical facility locations and contact numbers, who in the workplace is trained in first aid, how to ensure that personnel is accounted for and in a safe location, etc.
- Build an emergency kit. An emergency kit includes the basics for survival, such as flashlights, extra batteries, battery powered or hand crank radio, dust masks and first aid kits. Keep copies of important records stored in a waterproof, fire proof container. These records can include building plans, insurance policies, employee contact information, bank account records and other important documents.
- Back up your data. Have back-up plans to ensure crucial data won’t be lost during a power outage or the next storm. Only half of office managers in the Staples.com survey said their company had back-up plans in place.
- Practice. Good preparation means conducting regular safety drills. However, the Staples.com survey found that 50 percent of office workers participate in drills only once every few years or never. In the case of a hazardous material exposure or a major medical emergency, less than a quarter (23 percent and 19 percent, respectively) of office workers said they would know what to do in that circumstance.
- Get involved. Consider taking a first aid course or emergency response training, such as those offered from the National Safety Council.
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