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21 JULY 2020



How prepared is your business for emergencies?


It is estimated that one in three Australian’s are likely to experience a disaster (or the threat of a disaster) in their lifetime. And just as individuals are exposed to growing risk, businesses are too. On any given day the threat of emergency situations like extreme weather events, site shutdowns and workplace safety incidents contribute to the growing risk environment in which we operate. 


Emergency events can quickly unfold and have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the workforce, customers and communities. The way these events are managed can also affect the ongoing viability of a business and impact its brand and reputation too.


Preparedness is an important factor in determining how businesses function during emergencies, and how well they bounce back afterwards. Here are three emergencies we think it’s worth preparing for.


  1. Health emergencies


With little warning, a wide range of medical conditions can affect the normal functioning of a workplace. And given the highly physical nature of construction work, the risk of some medical emergency can be even greater in this industry. 


The Australian Code of Practice for First Aid In The Workplace requires all businesses to provide first aid equipment and adequate facilities and trained workers to administer it. Here are some additional ways for businesses to prepare and plan ahead for medical emergencies:


  • Health needs and concerns will vary across industry. Understanding the specific health risks and needs of your workforce and your industry can help in appropriately planning and preparing.


  • Every year 30,000 Australians die from sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully automated external defibrillators (AEDs) save lives, and making them more widely available in workplaces should be an important part of planning for medical emergencies. AEDs are available in most Coates Hire workplaces, and there are plans to make them available at all locations.


  1. Workplace safety incidents


Ensuring timely and appropriate responses is critical to the safety and wellbeing of anyone involved in a workplace safety incident. To reduce the risk of these emergencies Coates Hire performs regular risk assessments and regularly tests, implements and refines procedures to manage workplace safety. 


Here are some other ways Coates Hire invests in emergency preparedness for workplace safety.


  • Investing in technology: Coates Hire’s access fleet is a great example of using technology to reduce risk and improve safety. Leading the industry, Coates Hire recently invested in secondary protection across it’s boom fleet, and it is currently trialling third party safety technologies to improve the safety of its range of scissor lifts.


  • Committing to safety training and communication: Understanding that safety communication and training are an important part of improving workplace safety and preparing to respond to safety incidents, Coates Hire is focused on making safety part of its ongoing conversation with employees and customers. Coates Hire is also committed to continually improving the effectiveness of its safety training and communication, investing in innovative technologies and approaches to achieve this. 


  • Psychological first aid training: Workers responding to emergency events can experience critical incident stress – affecting their mental health and ability to function normally at work. Coates Hire is investing in psychological first aid training to better support employees experiencing mental health issues. This training has the potential to be applied to mental trauma experienced during and following an emergency situation.


  1. Extreme environmental events


Australia doesn’t need to be reminded of just how quickly environmental emergencies can escalate. Or of the burden they can bring to our families, our businesses and communities. Extreme environmental events also have a significant impact on our economy – experts predict the economic cost of natural disasters in Australia will reach $39 billion per year by 2050.


Coates Hire has been at the forefront of supporting major environmental events just like these for many years, and has seen first hand the impact that emergency planning can have on a business’ ability to recover from major environmental events. Business continuity planning will be unique to individual businesses, but some examples of things to consider include: 


  • Maintaining software updates and regular offsite / cloud backups.
  • Investing in digital data recovery services.
  • Ensuring adequate insurance provisions have been made.
  • Making preparations for your workforce to work remotely, or from an alternate location.

Has your business been impacted by an emergency? What types of events should we be planning for and prioritising? Please share your thoughts and feedback via LinkedIn.


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