Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
June 13, 2011

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Businesses dragging their heels on disaster planning

Too few businesses have put in place disaster plans and those that have are not testing them properly. That was the blunt message that invited attendees to Cardinus Risk Management’s Health and Safety Forum, recently heard.

Speaking at the event held last month in London, Barry Holt, director of policy and research at the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM), warned of the constantly changing political landscape and risk to employees in different parts of the world.

Barry looked at how our perceptions of different countries around the world have changed following unrest, and civil and international wars in variousy regions. His presentation looked at several case studies and examined what was, or could have been, done to minimise the risk to workers.

To help their organisations manage the health and safety of expatriate workers, forum delegates were provided with a checklist, which included: acquiring knowledge and understanding of the cultures in parts of the world where staff are being deployed; and the thorough testing of all procedures.

In the subsequent discussion session, an expert in kidnap and ransom from Cardinus’ parent company, THB Group, explained how specific insurance can help companies deal with such a threat. “We don’t recommend that clients advertise the fact that they have kidnap and ransom insurance, for obvious reasons,” he said. “But companies with cover get instant access to the very best people, trained in negotiation and handling this kind of incident. Companies with kidnap and ransom insurance are many times more likely to have a satisfactory outcome.”

Presenting on the topic of natural disasters, Mark Preston, head of safety consultancy at Cardinus Risk Management, described the impact and aftermath of hurricanes, floods, tsunami, volcanoes and earthquakes, looking at the cost in both human and financial terms. He also presented research on diseases, viruses and epidemics.

Mark compared the survival and recovery rates of companies with a disaster plan against those without, and discussed the cultural and leadership qualities required in an organisation to help deal with catastrophic events.

He asked the audience: “Do companies assess risk in the proper context and look at the potential of these disasters happening? Do they operate on a philosophy that is largely based on the fact that insurance will cover them, or do they have a wider view and recognise the human impact? Does the organisation look at prevention, rather than waiting for something to happen? And lastly, do they have simple, workable systems in place? If not, companies are opening themselves up in a big way to prosecution and litigation problems.”

Edited versions of the presentations are available at First-time visitors will have to register to view them.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments