ISME, the Irish SME association has today (October 11th) issued advice in relation to Storm Callum. Employers are advised to remain vigilant over the next 24 hours in relation to the anticipated storm. Employers now have the opportunity to prepare for this event and we advise them to put measures in place to reduce the potential business impact this warning could have. The storm is due to hit through the night so there should be little disruption to business operations. Employers have a duty of care for all employees under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act.
There are a number of questions for a business if a decision is made to close. Will work automatically be called off if a Status Red warning is issued? Will other circumstances be taken into consideration (i.e. the employee’s work environment?). Who will make the decision and more importantly, how will this decision be communicated to employees?
Employers should ensure they have up-to-date contact information for all employees within the organisation in case a last minute, or out-of-hours decision needs to be communicated to staff members.
Should the business be forced to close, you should consider the likely impact this will have on customers/clients. A plan should be put in place as to how this will be communicated.
Where a business closure does not occur, employees should be made are aware who they should contact in the event that they are unable to attend work due to the weather conditions. Flexibility should be allowed for employees, especially those who have some distance to travel. Where employees are present in the workplace, care should be taken to remain vigilant for any worsening conditions and cancelled/amended travel services throughout the day. Consideration should also be given to how long it will take somebody to commute home safely.