Rave Mobile Security has released a report showing that while businesses are improving their preparedness for ‘modern emergencies’, employees safety is still at risk.
Overall, Rave Mobile Security’s 2019 Workplace Safety and Preparedness Survey indicated that businesses in the United States were improving their emergency response strategies. The report assessed how prepared organisations were for modern emergencies, including active shooter emergencies, cyber attacks, system outages, and workplace violence incidents.
The report discovered that while organisations may have strategies and plans in place for these events, senior management may fail to explain these plans to employees adequately. In some circumstances, the businesses may not even test their plans to ensure that they can smoothly implement them.
Rave Mobile Security surveyed 540 full-time employees in US businesses for the report. The researchers asked the employees about their employer’s emergency plans and the effectiveness of the communications systems used to alert emergencies to them.
The survey shows that employees generally had insufficient understanding of their company’s emergency response plans. One in five workers did not know about the emergency plan for a cyber attack or system outage, 18% were unaware of the plan for an active shooter emergency, and 18% were hazy about the plan for incidences of workplace violence.
The results of the report are of enormous importance; according to the National Safety Council, nearly 2 million workers are injured in workplace violence incidents in the United States every year. Violence in the workplace is the second leading cause of death for female workers, and yet 37% of surveyed female employees were unaware of workplace violence emergency plans.
Workplace violence is the third leading cause of death in healthcare, business, law, and the media. Businesses should redouble their efforts to communicate emergency plans to all employees to prevent incidents such as these from occurring.
In addition to communicating their plans to employees, businesses must test their plans to ensure they are useful. The report reveals that many employers fail to perform drills or test response plans. Over half of surveyed employees (55%) said their employer did not conduct drills and tests of emergency plans for cyber attacks, 53% said emergency plans for workplace violence incidents were not tested, and 45% never tested plans for medical emergencies. Surprisingly, 20% of respondents said fire drills were not performed, despite these drills long being standard work practices.
Businesses must have robust ways of alerting staff of emergencies, including both on-site and mobile workers. Fire alarms are effective in offices, but other emergencies require different methods of alerting employees to a threat. Mobile technology could be an effective way of ensuring that staff are made aware of a threat and can be located using GPS technology. Of the organisations surveyed, 16% said their company uses mobile apps for communication in emergencies and 44% use text messages, although the primary method of communication is email, used by 55% of businesses and organisations.
“This year’s survey continues to emphasise that more needs to be done to drive safety awareness in an organisation’s everyday operations. Employers must also examine how they can bridge the gap between preparedness plans and the drills in place and realities of what their workers could encounter while on the job,” said Todd Piett, CEO of Rave Mobile Safety.