Business Continuity: Severe Weather Considerations

All companies spend a great deal of time and money on the traditional risk, such as fire safety procedures, however, with the increased prevalence of extreme weather, do we spend enough time and thought on our preparedness for a severe weather event? Last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ caused massive disruption to businesses across the UK and highlights the need to have preparations in place. However, in Scotland snow falls almost every year and across the UK flooding from heavy rainfall is now almost an annual event. Given the impact to your business can range from staff not being able to leave their own local area due to limited gritting, through to school closures limiting staff availability to come into the work place, or even the impact on your Supply Chain if one part of it is disrupted - are you prepared?

We have developed a list of considerations that can be used in such circumstances, and could help your company be ready to respond.

People

  • Is everyone accounted for? (at work or traveling)

  • What is the potential impact on key skilled personnel? Can they get to a place of work?

  • Is there sufficient gritting/snow clearing to keep your paths clear – can staff be asked to help?

  • Do staff working outside have appropriate clothing for the conditions?

  • For staff working from home, do they have a suitable work environment, and can they access the server? What is the impact on the server speed if many more than normal log in?

  • For those travelling to work, are their vehicles suitable and do they have spare / warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, thermos flask etc.  

  • Given that Line Managers might also be unavailable, is there a central work number to call in case of a major delay?

  • Does a Department rely on another Department for an activity?  If so, is the other Department still able to deliver it?

  • If there was an emergency during this severe weather period, eg cyber-attack through to burst pipe or chemical leak, can sufficient responders mobilise to the nominated response centre to deal with it? If not, are there alternative options that can be implemented within the required timeframe?

Premises

  • Are valuable assets suitably heated/protected.

  • Is suitable protection from frozen pipes in place.

  • Do you have a supply of fuel, especially if you rely on a generator for either primary or back-up power.

  • Is your resupply of raw materials, food, consumables etc sufficiently robust?

  • Have you considered the potential risk from falling icicles/snow from buildings.

  • Are there any areas of “suspicious” brickwork or masonry that might become lose and a risk as a result of the freezing conditions?

  • Have you considered the risk of flooding following a rise in temperature?

  • Do you have a plan in the event of a loss of electricity due to power lines being brought down?

Technology

  • Severe weather is normally forecast in advance. Where possible, it is recommended that key staff take IT home with them in case they can’t get to work the following day, and whatever paperwork might be required (within security limits).

  • If not already practised, recommend that everyone tests their ability to log on from home and access folders.

  • From experience, when the “Home Working” option is maximised, data speed and connectivity reduces.  Is there an IT help-desk available for home workers?

  • If there is an issue with IT during this period, can sufficient IT personnel be activated to make the repair?

Supply Chain

  • Are there critical supplies that could be delayed – including mail, water, food?

  • Is there potential for distribution disruption that may impact on your contractual obligations?

  • Grit and salt supplies will be at a premium.  Consider when to re-order so that your stocks are maintained.

  • Could your waste management be disrupted, if so how long before it becomes critical?

By taking the above points into consideration, your business can be ready to respond to severe weather and disruption can be minimised.

At Inverroy, our experienced team can recognise challenges, spot gaps in planning and design essential solutions to help reduce business continuity issues and specifically help your organisation be ready to respond and recover from disruptions. For more information on how your company can prepare for severe weather disruption, please get in touch with us below.

 
Name *
Name