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Storm Barra

After arriving this morning, Storm Barra has caused some flooding in the south and has already left at least 33,000 homes and businesses without power.

Met Éireann has issued a Red wind warning for county Cork, Kerry and Clare as Storm Barra brings severe and damaging wind gusts in excess of 130km/h.  An Orange wind warning is also in place for many western counties and some eastern counties, with a Yellow wind warning covering the rest of the country.  Dangerous conditions are also expected at sea with marine warnings in place along all Irish coasts, including a Red marine warning for southwestern sea areas. A yellow rain warning is also in place nationwide, as the strong winds from Storm Barra are accompanied by heavy rain.

ISME are recommending that all businesses and employers take a proactive approach to minimize the disruption. This means putting contingency plans in place, advising employees of what will happen and ensuring the there is sufficient planning to offset any potential loss.

Remember, there is no way to account for Mother Nature, however with the right planning you can limit the amount of impact to your company, employees and customers.

Contingency Planning

It is important to consider how a severe weather incident will impact your business:

  • Is your premises prepared for the impact that snow or large amount of water?
    • Do access points require additional support? (Grit / Salt / etc.)
    • Are waste water drains cleared?
    • Is there damage that requires repair on the roof or external walls?
    • Is there adequate insulation on the locations plumbing?
  • Are you adequately insured to cover potential loss associated to weather damage?
  • What local agencies are in a position to support you should your business require support?
  • Consider how a business decision will be made as to whether or not closure is necessary. Who will make the decision and more importantly, how will this decision be communicated to employees?
  • Are the contact details for all of your employees up to date?
  • Can employees be issued with equipment that facilitates remote working from home?
  • How will the company respond with regard to payment in the event of a closure?

Where there is no closure:

  • What support will be offered to employees to deal with the conditions?
  • Has the company conducted a full Risk Assessment based on the activities of the team members that are affected by the decision to remain open?
  • Have the employees been briefed, and where necessary trained, on the findings of the Risk Assessment?

Employers have a duty of care for all employees under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, and must give due consideration if it is safe to ask employees to travel to work, or to undertake their work.

It is imperative that an appropriate Risk Assessment is conducted to ensure that management makes an informed decision and that no employee’s Safety is put at Risk unnecessarily.

Adverse Weather Preparation Guide

Members can view the full guide here