In the wake of Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Canterbury the Department of Labour is offering health & safety and HR advice to affected employers.
On the safety front, the key message is not to rush into your premises, but to work through a checklist before reopening to ensure staff and customers will be safe. If you don’t have in-house expertise the Department suggests getting an expert in to assist as you work through its checklist.
On the employee relations front, the key message is to communicate with your staff, to be flexible, and to work together to find a practical solution. The Department acknowledges that many of the issues that employers and employees are facing won’t be covered by employment agreements, including time off because an employee wishes to remain with their family, the emotional effects of the earthquake, and the need to undertake work that is not in the job description, such as cleaning up.
The Accident Compensation Corporation’s website has information for staff affected by the earthquake, and could be a useful model to follow.
To help prepare your business for any natural disaster, Civil Defence has an excellent checklist which is worth working your way through.