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Businesses 'must be accountable for safety of all staff'

Recent research has shown a growing business awareness of the importance of taking responsibility for the safety of all staff, regardless of where they are based.

This was one of the key themes explored in the Emergency Communication Report, which was published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) with the support of Everbridge, a global software firm.

The study examined the importance of companies having emergency communications plans in place to ensure they can get in touch with all staff in the event of a crisis.

More than eight out of ten organisations (84 percent) had some sort of policy in place to make contact with employees in an emergency situation. Among those that didn't, 64 percent said it would take a major, business-affecting event to encourage them to implement an emergency communications plan.

Earlier this year, the BCI published a report highlighted rising business concerns around physical security, particularly in relation to threats such as workplace violence and terrorism.

The latest publication noted that being able to communicate effectively with staff - whether they are in the workplace, on the move or at a remote location - brings the added benefit of stronger safety.

Enlisting the services of a professional security provider can help companies keep workplaces safe with solutions such as manned guarding, while mobile security can ensure that workers and assets are protected while travelling.

Imad Mouline, chief technology officer at Everbridge, said: "This year's findings indicate that global businesses are increasingly aware that true resiliency is a company-wide initiative that involves taking accountability for the safety of all staff - whether they are located in the office, at home or on the road.

"While it's not surprising to see shared interest in emergency communications across business continuity, IT, security, facilities and other disciplines, it's clear that organisations are still seeking solutions to optimise their response plans for a mobile workforce, and for the growing frequency and complexity of critical events and security incidents."

Some of the key findings from the latest BCI research showed that more than six out of ten organisations (62 percent) are not entirely confident about their readiness to deal with a location-specific security incident, such as workplace violence or an act of terrorism.

More than half (55 percent) of firms participating in the study used three or more emergency communications processes. The most common emergency contact methods are internal emails (79 percent), text messages (70 percent), manual call trees (56 percent) and specialist software (50 percent).

However, around three out of ten companies (29 percent) said they didn't provide dedicated training or education programmes focused on emergency events or security threats.

The BCI's fifth annual Horizon Scan Report this year showed that 55 percent of business continuity professionals had concerns about the risk of an act of terrorism or a security incident such as vandalism, theft or fraud impacting their organisation.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock/zoranm

 

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