Work Safety and Power Outages

Power grids in the United States have been forced to carry an ever-increasing capacity. Many cities have aging equipment and outmoded technologies. This is a recipe for power outages. If you are a business owner or merely manage a business, you should prepare your office for the eventuality of a power outage.

Have a plan for informing employees that work has been cancelled or delayed. Create a phone tree that includes cell-phone numbers. It is important to carry business interruption insurance to recover lost work hours and productivity due to uncontrollable circumstances. If only certain areas of the city or county are affected, employees may be able to continue work offsite.

Know where the power relays are for your building. Be in touch with the landlord or shut off the power yourself. You want to prevent power surges when power is restored. Old equipment is especially vulnerable to problems related to power outages. In addition, you cannot know for certain when power will be restored. If it is restored in the middle of the night, your work equipment will turn on and run until employees arrive.

If the power outage occurs in the middle of the workday, you need to decide when and how to dismiss your employees. You should be sensitive to the fact that they must pick up children from schools, deal with possible danger to their own home, and may not be able to work without power.

You must also be cognizant of local conditions. A power outage in the spring or the fall may be no big deal. One that occurs in the extreme heat of summer or the freezing air of winter can be potentially damaging. You must consider human safety above profits and losses when determining if a power outage necessitates closure.