Now is a good time to update emergency information

January 22, 2014

One thing is certain – a worksite emergency is about the worst time to realize that your employee emergency contact information is out of date or missing. In addition, since we never can predict when we will truly need the information (if we could, we would avoid the need altogether!), now is the best time to update emergency contact information for all of your employees.

Be prepared
Make a point to remind employees that names, phone numbers, email addresses, and other information should be accurate in the company files. The start of a New Year or new quarter is an excellent time to remind everyone to revisit his or her emergency contacts.
Employers depend on that information to be accurate and accessible at a moment’s notice for the safety of the employee. So many things happen in a person’s life – cell phone numbers change, addresses change, or personal contacts originally listed are no longer appropriate as the emergency contact or beneficiary. Be proactive and remind employees to keep this information up to date with the company office.

What to do when
As for the office, are there clear instructions posted for employees and management to follow in the event of a worksite emergency? Who is to be notified first when an emergency occurs? What steps are to be taken after that? Follow company guidelines for posting such information where employees and management can review them.

Is there paperwork that needs to travel with an injured employee during medical transport? A central location where management can access this paperwork quickly when necessary to avoid delay in treatment may end up being critical.

Death happens
As life circumstances change, so may the desired beneficiaries of employees’ company life insurance, 401(k) assets, or health savings accounts. Many times, employees are not aware that these accounts require beneficiaries, contingents’ names, distribution percentages as well as current phone numbers and addresses. Costly legal action by the employee’s family is necessary to correct this if the employee dies without the correct beneficiaries listed, or without any beneficiaries listed at all. In some cases, the omission may not be reversible, proving to be very costly for those that should have received the appropriate benefit.

Ask employees to update these areas by providing them with the necessary forms or websites to access and update information. Creating an audit spreadsheet to ensure 100% compliance is recommended when it has been some time since your last beneficiary update.

EctoHR is here to help
For more advice on preparing employees and management for on-site emergencies, give the team members at EctoHR. Contact an EctoHR team member by calling 810.534.0170, or by email to hr@ectohr.com.

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