Workplace Safety During Natural Disasters


natural disaster

A natural disaster can cause loss of life or property damage, and can leave economic damage in its wake.  The severity of which depends on the affected company’s preparation, resilience, or ability to recover and on the facility infrastructure.

Common types of natural disasters.

  • Hurricanes
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Floods
  • Blizzards
  • Tsunami
  • Wildfires
  • Droughts
  • Avalanches
  • Landslides
  • Volcanic Eruptions

How much do natural disasters cost?

The U.S. has sustained 218 weather and climate disasters since 1980. The total cost of these 218 events exceeds $1.2 trillion. This total does not yet include the costs for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

In 2017 (as of October 6), there have been 15 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 7 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 282 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.

natural disaster

How do Natural Disasters impact business?

There are two different types of damages tallied from natural disasters: direct damages, which are caused by harm to physical structures like buildings and the belongings inside of them, and indirect damages, which are caused by people losing their incomes and jobs. Both damages can have a lasting impact for years to come.

What can happen?

  • Loss of capital. Natural disasters have a negative impact on a company’s capital since they must now spend money to restore assets rather than advance business operations.
  • Assets damaged. Disasters often render physical assets unusable if damage is significant to the natural disasterbusiness. There will likely be a high cost for repair or replacing your assets.
  • Lost or important documents. Whether it’s physical documentation or loss of files, a natural disaster can destroy information that is vital to your business.
  • Loss of personnel. Business owners who are injured or unable to work may face significant setbacks from natural or operational disasters.
  • Transportation/communication methods. Your business may shut down due to roads closing or communication lines disconnected. This could also be detrimental if a main supplier is affected by a natural disaster.
  • Cost of supplies may increase. Prices may rise with limited resources. With increased gas pump prices, extra effects included diminished margins for industries – from transportation to consumer goods

Dangers that workers need to be aware of during disaster.

  • Electrical hazards from downed power lines or water-related shorts.
  • Animal and insect related hazards.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning from portable generators.
  • Dangerous materials that have spilled.
  • Drowning hazards from flood or storm surge.
  • Fire prevention.
  • Structural safety.

Tips to lessen cost of natural disasters.

  • Create detailed guidelines for operational restoration based on each type of disaster that may occur. Clearly define roles, procedures and expenses.
  • Provide natural disaster training for employees and map out escape routes, shelter, supplies etc.
  • Set aside a portion of your operational profits for future disaster recovery plans.
  • Plan to reduce the loss of business assets from natural or operational disasters by operating multiple locations with multiple business assets.
  • Be sure your insurance coverage will assist when a natural disaster occurs. Carefully read the fine print.
  • Monitor any damaging weather coming through and be proactive in making arrangements to mitigate damage.
  • Have emergency resources ready for disasters.

No one can predict the total damage a natural disaster may cost your company, but being prepared and proactive will help lessen the costly damage. Give us a call today to help set your operational restoration plan in place.



BDeWees Consulting

4652 Belden Village St NW
Canton, Ohio 44718

(330) 915-2355