Small Business Owners Say They’re Not Prepared for Natural Disasters

Small business insurance may often be an important consideration for many owners who could be at significant risk of losing everything to a natural disaster. Despite recent major storms, though, most say they're not going to reassess their plans for increasing safety measures for themselves and their workers.

Today, three in five small business owners said that major disasters like Hurricane Sandy didn't lead them to examine the ways in which they plan for safety measures to take precautions against certain problems that may arise as a result, according to the latest workplace safety survey from Staples. Interestingly, employees of companies of all sizes say there may be a major disconnect between what these workers think of their workplaces' preparedness and reality. Just half of them say their companies have told them about basic safety plans to enact in the event of an emergency but about three in four say their companies take such matters seriously; nearly a quarter of those polled said they expect these plans would be communicated to them at the last minute.

Interestingly, less than half of small businesses seem to be prepared for major emergencies in general, or even have safety plans in place, and fewer than two in five say they don't have training in these areas, or drills to teach workers about proper techniques to protect themselves, the report said. Meanwhile, medium-sized businesses tend to be far more prepared for these issues, as 90 percent have plans for evacuation, and about half also had them when shelter in place orders are made, or if their buildings are locked down. They also tended to have more safety equipment on hand.

Why small businesses may fall short in this regard
In general, the bigger the business, the more resources they typically have to deal with all kinds of threats or potential safety problems. For instance, though smaller companies are typically plagued by the problems that can stem from data breaches both large and small, which carry significant price tags to deal with, many do not take the often necessary steps associated with better protecting the sensitive information they protect because they cannot afford to hire an IT professional whose sole job is to increase system security.

This, likewise, may be true of disaster preparedness, because in many cases every hour devoted by owners to coming up with plans, or every dollar spent buying safety equipment that might not be vital to the actual running of the company itself, is likely an hour or a dollar that owners might see as being better spent elsewhere. For these reasons, things that are often vital to protecting workers or business interests may fall by the wayside even as larger companies are able to deal with these issues in far more comprehensive manners. However, helping to prevent workplace accidents may significantly reduce instances of major injuries on the job arising, and consequently reduce liability for these companies.

How can owners better prepare their companies?
One area that small business owners may want to consider when evaluating their safety needs is to determine how their small business insurance policies are both affecting their bottom lines and helping them prepare for any emergency situations. Even taking the time to look into what they're paying for general liability insurance or workers' compensation insurance policies may help companies to better protect themselves and their workers, while also finding a cost-appropriate policy that could help them thrive in the future.