After London Attacks, Employers Need to Focus on Disaster Preparedness and Safety

July 15, 2005
The London terrorist attack is serving as a graphic reminder for businesses to revisit their corporate preparedness plans.

An organization failing to take reasonable steps to prepare for everything from a terrorist attack to a natural disaster will not only suffer greater immediate physical and financial impact of the event but also may be liable for losses incurred by employees, surviving relatives, shareholders and investors, according to Littler Mendelson, an employment and labor law firm.

"The latest attack in London is a stark reminder the vast majority of American corporations are woefully unprepared, a point noted in the 9/11 Commission's final report," said Terri M. Solomon, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson's New York office. "This catastrophe may finally prompt companies to become compliant with the NFPA 1600 Standard, which the 9/11 Commission recommended as the legal standard of care a company owes its employees and the public."

Basic business recovery plans should address:

  • Historical threats, such as natural disasters, and possible acts of terrorism.
  • Infrastructure disruption, including transportation, power, sanitation and distribution.
  • Accommodation of staff – on- or off-site – for up to 72 hours without outside assistance.
  • Reunification plans for employees' families.

Preparedness is the key. A successful plan pays equal attention to the triumvirate: protecting employees, revenue and physical assets. Ultimately, Solomon noted, "The better prepared people are at home, the faster they will return to work."

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