Conducting a mid-year review is an essential part of staying on track for meeting strategic goals, especially given the current challenges and operational impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A mid-year review can also be an effective risk-management tool to help protect your organization from unexpected and disruptive challenges. Your mid-year review probably looked a lot different in 2019 than it will now. Below are critical business issues to include in your 2020 mid-year review to ensure that you are effectively managing the risks, particularly during a pandemic, that can impact your business.
Maintain a comprehensive emergency plan for what you will do in the event of another pandemic or other disaster (natural or man-made) which includes procedures for contacting your employees, saving or preserving your inventory, and financing your ongoing business expenses if your revenue is disrupted (business interruption insurance can be an essential part of this plan).
Over half of employers around the world reported an emergency and related business interruption over a twelve-month period, according to the Business Continuity Institute’s report, Supply Chain Resilience — 10 Year Trend Analysis. Headlines about record flooding and other increasing incidents of natural disasters — not to mention disruptive cyber events — also emphasize the critical need for organizations to prioritize disaster recovery and business interruption as a top business concern.
With so many employees now working from home, employers should take steps to protect their workers, remote devices and networks from cyber threats. In a recent work-from-home survey conducted by Threatpost.com, since employers have implemented work-from-home policies in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, 40% have already reported seeing an increase in cyber attacks. As employers continue to ask employees to work remotely, cybersecurity practices can help maintain the integrity of their data and systems, such as:
For more information about these practices, see our article 5 steps to stronger cybersecurity for remote employees.
Implementing risk controls and screening employees is one of the critical areas that will form the foundation of your return to work plan. Employers will not be able to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 from the workplace due to its nature as a virus and the current lack of a vaccine. Employers instead must focus on implementing effective workplace controls to protect employees and minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 at work. The “hierarchy of controls” approach directs employers to first consider engineering controls, then administrative controls and safe work practices, and only use personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary and appropriate.
Consider conducting screening procedures to identify employees or guests who are potentially ill before they enter your facility. Review applicable guidance and choose a screening tool for employees and/or guests in the workplace. If employees’ and/or guests’ temperatures will be taken, review most up-to-date CDC guidance on temperature-taking. See our COVID-19 Back to Business Planning Tool for details.
If you learn that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 or was told by a medical provider that they likely have COVID-19, we recommend that you send them home immediately if they are in the workplace and then take the steps listed in our article Respond to an employee’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
To comply with recordkeeping requirements when an employee tests positive for COVID-19, evaluate if you need to log any of the OSHA 300 Log recording conditions. Communicate with employees in the event of possible exposure or symptoms. Determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and may need to take additional precautions and consult CDC and state health official guidelines. Have those employees get tested for COVID-19 and stay home while awaiting test results. Advise employees to self-quarantine for at least 14 days, or per the CDC guidelines.
With the speed that technology advances, it can be difficult for corporate IT budgets to keep up. It’s also true that employees become very attached to their particular mobile device platforms and can resent it when an employer forces them into a specific device. For these and other reasons, there has been a huge upswing in the number of organizations employing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
BYOD policies generally grant employees permission to use their own personal electronic devices (PEDs), such as smart phones, tablets and laptops, for work purposes. While doing so can have numerous advantages, too many employers, unfortunately, don’t properly manage the usage and security risks that surround such devices.
For more information on managing your BYOD risk exposures, see our article 4 unforeseen dangers of allowing the use of personal devices for work.
Wage and hour laws apply the same to nonexempt employees who telecommute as they do to nonexempt employees in your building, which means you need to find a way to carefully and accurately track all the time such employees spend working. Accurate time records are necessary to ensure employees are paid at least minimum wage and receive overtime when necessary.
To manage this issue, create a comprehensive telecommuting policy that outlines your organization’s expectations for employees who work from home. This policy should include your company’s work-hour expectations, information about work-provided equipment and cybersecurity, and expectations regarding communication. Your policy should also outline any other expectations unique to your organization. Access a sample telecommuting policy in our eBook An employer’s quick guide to managing remote employees.
It is often tempting to focus disproportionately on the benefits of a new product or service and less on the potential risks. That is why it may be helpful to first consider the risks of a proposed new product before selling oneself on the benefits.
Risk-related questions that organizations should consider include:
Acquisitions put organizations on alert for threats to safety that can come with joining different corporations, facilities, staff, and cultures. Risk managers should make sure they are involved in acquisition negotiations early on so that risk and safety issues can be factored in to the process.
Do your insurance policies protect you against the risks you currently face? Take a look at the limits and exclusions on your business liability insurance policies. If you haven’t updated them in six months or more and have experienced any business changes in that time (e.g., moving to a new building, increasing revenue, offering new services or products, hiring new employees, etc.), there’s a good chance that your policies don’t fully cover you. Call your insurance consultant to clarify whether you need an update to your insurance policies. For more information about risk management and insurance issues, contact us.
Shaun is an Insurance Practice Group Leader specializing in fiduciary liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation.
Shaun is an Insurance Practice Group Leader specializing in fiduciary liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation. He has been in the insurance industry since 1985 and was previously the president and owner of a local, independent agency specializing in commercial insurance, especially in the areas of fiduciary liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation. Shaun brings his extensive knowledge of professional and fiduciary liability and workers’ compensation, and his passion for helping clients protect their financial, physical and emotional well-being.
Risk management and human resources are traditionally two different job functions, and the people in these areas have rarely crossed paths — but that is changing.
Why are these people starting to work together more frequently?
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