16 | JULY 2020 | NATIONAL UNDERWRITER PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COMBUSINESSES NEED TO HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE SHOULD A WORST CASE SCENARIO UNFOLDAND THEIR PROPERTY IS DAMAGED DURING A DEMONSTRATION OR OTHER PUBLIC EVENT.
Workplace Safety During Protests
BY KIMBERLY GEORGE AND MARK WALLS
WORKPLACE VIOLENCE has been akey issue that we’ve tracked recentlyas part of our podcast Out Front Ideas.
Our focus has been on the commonthreats of violence that manyworkers and businesses arefacing.
With the recent civilunrest in several cities,workplaces face potential newdangers from riots and lootingthat unfortunately accompaniedsome of the peaceful protests. Thereare several issues that employers needto consider to protect employees during such situations.
One of the initial and ongoing protocolsshould include monitoring news, socialmedia and local government reportsabout the potential for demonstrationsnear business locations.
Maintaining communication with yourentire workforce during a potentialcrisis should be a top priority — notjust with your managers.
How are you approaching this? Doyou have an emergency alert system oranother way of contacting employeesat a particular location?
Communication needs to be clear,consistent and transparent.
Never leave things up to employeeinterpretation.
TRAVEL TO WORK
Massive protests can make traveling
to and from work difficult with street
and highway closures, and public
transportation being overwhelmed or
closed. Employers need to be mindful
of how this impacts the ability of their
workforce to get to work. Is parking
safe and available? Is the area safe to
walk from train or bus stops to the job
location? Consider adjusting shift times
so that your employees are not trying
to come and go during the protest and
offer work from home in scenarios
where that is an option.
Several cities have imposed curfewsduring times of civil unrest. When thishappens, companies should make surefacilities are closing early enough toprovide time for your workers to gethome before the start of the curfew.
For essential businesses that maybe exempt from the curfew, make sureyour employees have the appropriatedocumentation with them at all times.
Sometimes the safest option for your
employees is to close the business early
to avoid it being open during the pro-
tests or times of civil disobedience. For
the benefit of all, it is essential to make
closing decisions as soon as possible so
that employees can both avoid coming
into work, and get out of a potentially
dangerous situation quickly.
It’s natural for your employees to be
apprehensive during these
situations, and fear is
a common thread.
of the benefits and
to assist them will be
helpful. Offering an
program can be of particular interest
during stressful times, and they may
connect the caller with behavioral
health counselors. Tele-behavioral
health is increasingly available through
group health telemedicine programs
and is especially helpful for just-in-
time care related to civil unrest.
Remind employees of emotional,
medical and financial tools available
through their benefits program.
SHOULD THE WORST HAPPENCompanies need to have a policy onwhat to do if the worst case happensand rioters besiege their business.What should your employees do toprotect their safety? How should theyrespond if looters are on site?
These policies need to be developed well in advance, and employeestrained on the proper course of action.A crisis is no time for hesitancy.
Kimberly George ( email@example.com) is senior vice president of corporatedevelopment at Sedgwick. Mark Walls (firstname.lastname@example.org) is vice president ofcommunications at Safety National.