A catastrophic event has just occurred in your workplace. It could be an explosion in a petrochemical plant or a blowout on a drilling rig. You’re safe, thankfully. But what do you do now? Do you know your role in the company’s crisis management plan?
Every organization is vulnerable to a crisis, and most organizations have a crisis management plan to help contain the damage. There are ways you can help.
Prepare for crises
The first step in crisis management is to recognize potential problems in advance, such as explosions, releases, blowouts or kicks. Volunteer to be a part of a “walk-through” team and walk through each step of each function within your area, identifying potential dangers using “what if” scenarios.
Handle the grapevine
During a crisis, it is important that the information your company releases is accurate, factual and delivered to the right people by the right people. Know who the designated spokesperson is. If you are asked to gather information for the spokesperson:
Provide all information you have about the incident. Don’t hold back information, don’t speculate and make sure you verify your facts.
Provide information as quickly as possible. A slow release of information can lead to frustration and even mistrust.
Remember that with the media, nothing is ever off the record. Be careful of what you say and refer all questions to the spokesperson.
Handle yourself with grace. Try to keep your emotions out of the crisis and focus on the facts.
Prepare to rebuild
The ability to recover from a crisis depends on how well solutions to that crisis have been identified and recorded in advance. For each worst case scenario considered during your walk-through, identify and record:
Who will be affected and how can they be reached
Who is responsible for notifying the employees and who is the backup
Who is responsible for notifying the press and who is the backup
Which government agencies need to be notified and who notifies them
Who provides instructions for handling incoming calls, etc.
With this information quickly available, you and your co-workers can focus on rebuilding.
Being prepared for a crisis can reduce damage, downtime and, most of all, personal injury. Know your company’s plan and be prepared.