Things Do Go Wrong: Understanding the foundations of crisis response
Recovering from the onset of a global pandemic, many businesses understandably felt the worst times were behind them. Crises, however, are often not of a global scale. A quick glance at recent news reveals that a variety of tragic events can impact people and organisations, often shining a spotlight on businesses who are not well-equipped to handle them.
Photo credit: RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue
Ten days after her marriage, 29-year-old Marina Morgan was killed when a golf buggy driven by her husband rolled on its side. The horrific accident brought Hamilton Island tourism providers under the microscope, with news outlets questioning whether the accident might have been avoidable. This tragic incident is yet another unfortunate example of why the foundations of good crisis management is important. Specifically:
1) Prevention: In this instance, instruction on how to operate and limitations of the buggy may have avoided the accident, instructions on safety and breakdown procedures. Safety devices such as long-range walkie-talkies mounted on the vehicles would allow for users to access assistance during an incident such as this one.
2) Preparation: Accidents always seem unlikely, yet they occur. Appropriate first-aid kits on board each vehicle and training of staff to be responsive in an emergency are straightforward measures that should be taken.
3) Response: Effective response procedures allow for decisive action and quick transfer to emergency services when required. Emergency and critical incident response plans and training are a must. Regular emergency drills hone staff skills to be familiar with emergency response procedures.
4) Recovery: Management needs to perform a post-incident review, including revising the current systems and workforce to be more prepared and ready for an incident. A trained critical incident team not only manages responses to incidents, but is trained to address media and stakeholders quickly, offering protection from reputational harm.
Photo credit: Unsplash
Another tragic example is that of 47-year-old Rod Williams, father of three and an experienced scuba diver, who suffered a fatal dive after filling his air tank at Cross Diving Services in Marlo, Victoria. Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria later concluded that three air cylinders onsite contained a dangerously high level of carbon monoxide, 30 times the maximum allowable amount. Again, the fundamental factors of crisis management could have come into play to help avoid or manage this incident.
1) Prevention: This incident could have been avoided if the compressor used to fill compressed air into the air tank has been regularly checked and thoroughly tested for safety reasons. WorkSafe reported the cylinders contained contaminated air.
2) Preparation: Checking air quality of cylinder fills would help identify any contamination in the cylinder.
3) Response: Early notification that contamination of air from the company will assist in reducing further tragedy.
4) Recovery: Review of the cylinder filling process should be undertaken to identify what caused the failure and how to mitigate this happening again.
In short, tragedies will happen, often implicating businesses big and small. When things go wrong, having the fundamentals of crisis management in place can prepare individuals and groups to take a methodical approach to either avoid crises altogether, or minimise their harm.
We can assist with an audit of your people, plans and systems to ensure you are up to date and ready should a crisis happen.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0417 160 120.