Employers urged to take steps as Storm Callum bears down

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Employers urged to  take steps as Storm Callum bears down

Employers are advised to remain vigilant over the next 24 hours in relation to the arrival Storm Callum.

Representative group ISME says employers now have the opportunity to prepare for this event. ISME 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.

ISME’s HR Advisor Mark O’Connor commenting on the weather warnings. A status Orange warning has been issued for coasts while the midlands is under a Yellow alert.

“It is important that employers consider the impact on their employees, review local weather alerts and assist employees in preparing for adverse conditions particularly on the commute tomorrow morning.”

"For all employees, matters such as transport to and from work should be considered including any impact on public transport. It is not expected that this should impede operations, however, we encourage members to consider their own situation on a case by case basis,” he said.

 ISME CEO Neil McDonnell noted that employers have a duty of care for all employees under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act.

"A key consideration needs to be whether, in the circumstances, it is safe to ask employees to travel to work, or to undertake their work. The potential risk could be greater for certain roles or in certain sectors (e.g. “on-the-road” sales positions or in the construction sector where outside work is required),” he said.

ISME says 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?

ISME also advise that employers should ensure they have up-to-date contact information for all employees within the organisation in case a last minute or an out-of-hours decision needs to be communicated to staff members.

Should the business be forced to close, employers are advised to 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.

ISME say 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.

It is also advised that consideration should also be given to how long it will take somebody to commute home safely.

ISME’s HR concluded: 

“As Storm Callum is a status Orange threat there is no indication that employees should be restricted from attending work. The only area of concern should be employees working outdoors in high-risk roles; these could require a supplementary risk assessment to consider adverse conditions. The storm is due to hit through the night so there should be little disruption to operations,” he said.