Communicating in Crisis: Preparing the Public Information Officer

In Part Six of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” a checklist for the EHS professional provides insight into the information you might  be asked to provide in a crisis.

Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, the role of the EHS practitioner in many cases is not only to gather and report information but to anticipate what information will be asked Shot of two warehouse workers standing on stairs using a digital tablet and looking at paperwork.

The EHS practitioner likely will lead or be a big part of gathering data and producing information that will be used for communications with the public, media sources and officials affected by the crisis. In most organizations, there is a role defined as public information officer (PIO), and while various titles may be used organizationally, it is this person who serves as the public face for the organization.

The Role of the PIO

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Communicating in Crisis: Emergency Response Planning, Preparation and Training

In Part Five of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains why you should not leave crisis planning to chance.

It’s not if but when a crisis event occurs at your facility, so make sure you have planned for it and employees are trained in emergency response.

How an organization handles emergency response during a crisis – and the communications of such events – cannot be left to chance. Planning, preparation and especially, training contribute to successfully managing emergency response. So, handle these in a way that benefits you as a practitioner and the organization you represent.  

Personally, and with few exceptions, I always was totally surprised when a crisis event happened. Some were small events, others quite large and complex, but most were very unexpected. Don’t think that a crisis event might happen, because at some point, such an event will occur. Prepare employees by providing emergency … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Government Agencies

In Part Four of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to know and understand regulations – local, state, and federal – that require reports to be filed following an emergency situation such as an environmental spill or employee injury.

Some emergency situations require reporting to local, regional or federal agencies, which may step in to coordinate a response.

There are no “hard and fast” rules for the EHS practitioner in reporting a crisis event to government agencies. So, know the regulations required by the specific agency that has jurisdiction over your operation.

For instance, in the United States, an environmental emergency is reportable to EPA when there’s a threat that reaches a threshold limit. Likewise, OSHA has similar protocols when fatal or specifically defined injuries occur.

Understand Reporting Requirements

It is vital that you understand the reporting requirements for all government … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: The Role of EHS in Managing Communication

In Part Two of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains the role of the EHS function in gathering information to help the organization make informed decisions as part of crisis management efforts. Read Part One, “Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner.”

The EHS function often plays a role in internal and external communication during crisis management.

The EHS practitioner is likely to work along several paths in dealing with and communicating in a crisis.  In an emergency, the practitioner has multiple audiences that will need to be informed including employees, senior management and government agencies. The media and the public also are a consideration, but usually with the idea of supporting that activity with data that will be shared externally by others.    

It is imperative to gather as much information as you can about what happened. Taking for granted that people have … Read more...

Intelex: Supporting COVID-19 Crisis Response and Prevention Efforts

The global COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the world into a state of nervousness and uncertainty. People everywhere are adapting to new realities that would have been unfathomable just months ago.   

Justin McElhattan, President, Industrial Scientific / Intelex Technologies, ULC., announced March 20 that Intelex is offering its Intelex Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality software platform free of charge to those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in the communities in which the company operates and our employees live and work. These include the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Thames Valley and London (UK), Denver, Sydney (Australia), and Pittsburgh, where its parent company, Industrial Scientific, is headquartered.

Intelex is ready to support COVID-19   crisis response efforts.

“Municipalities, first responders, public health organizations, healthcare facilities, and all other life-essential services providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak, we stand with you,” said Justin McElhattan, President, Industrial Scientific / Intelex Technologies, ULC. “With nearly 30 years of experience in protecting the health and … Read more...