Most jobs these days don’t require employees to detonate dynamite miles underground or hang off the sides of skyscrapers, but that doesn’t mean the typical worker doesn’t face the occasional dangerous situation or potential threat. From weather-related damage and natural disasters to technology breaches, there are all sorts of threats out there, and a new study from CareerBuilder looks at how prepared workers feel they are to deal with such workplace disasters.
The verdict? In short, the vast majority of workers (93 percent) feel their office is a secure place to work. But drilling a little deeper reveals some cracks forming in that confidence.
For example, fewer than half of employees (37 percent) say they have a security guard at their workplace, and 1 in 5 (22 percent) are unsure how they would protect themselves in the case of an emergency in their office that posed a physical threat. A closer look at more specific threats reveals even more employee trepidation.
Of all the potential dangers out there, threats posed by other people are often the most troubling. Indeed, 31 percent of workers say they do not feel their workplace is well-protected from physical threats from another person and 41 percent do not think their companies have an emergency plan in place for such an event.
And it’s not just physical threats workers are concerned about. Digital hacking threats loomed just as large among workers, with 31 percent saying they don’t think their workplace is well-protected from such attacks. Similarly, 39 percent say they don’t think their employer has a plan, should a cyberattack occur.
Humans may be the most concerning threats in employees’ minds, but they’re not the only potential dangers out there. The survey revealed that 17 percent of workers don’t believe their workplaces are well-protected in case of a fire, flood or other natural disaster, and nearly a quarter (22 percent) don’t think there is an emergency plan in place.
As for weather-related threats, 19 percent don’t feel their workplaces are well-protected and 26 percent don’t think their companies have an emergency plan in place if they were ever faced with extremely severe weather.
Communication is key
An emergency plan serves two key functions – to provide employees with a sense of security so they know they are working in a safe environment, and to actually keep employees safe in the event of an emergency. No plan – no matter how comprehensive – can succeed in these functions if it is poorly communicated.
“As an employer, you have an obligation to protect your employees by every means possible, and having an emergency plan in place to deal with unforeseen events is part of that,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “However, an emergency plan is only as good how well it is communicated. It is crucial that employees not only know about this plan, but have easy access to it and participate in regular drills so they know how to protect themselves and others.”