How to Respond to Critical Incidents at your Organisation | QRisk

How to Respond to Critical Incidents at your Organisation

Critical incidents at work are a fact of life. They have happened before and will happen again. While it’s easy to focus on all the positive things happening in your organisation, it’s just as important to be prepared when tragedies and accidents occur. Having a framework set up to handle your organisational response is crucial. A correct response supports your staff through times that can be confusing and emotionally challenging. Here is our guide to responding quickly and correctly when critical incidents occur in your organisation.

Always be ready

Responding to a critical incident starts well before it happens, when everything is going smoothly. Critical incident readiness is about having a plan that is simple to implement, pragmatic in its scope, and is tailored to your organisation. While every organisation is vulnerable to different risks, everyone benefits from a certain kind of culture. If your staff feel looked after, your records are well-kept, and everyone knows their specific role in the response, you’re already halfway there.

Start on the front foot

The immediate response is clear thinking under stress – and this is crucial. Securing the physical safety of all staff is the priority, but just as important is making sure their emotional needs are looked after. After a critical incident, anxiety and stress can be overwhelming. Compassion and care need to start at the top of the organisation. As the response unfolds, it’s also important to secure any evidence related to the incident and understand your reporting obligations to regulators and responders who will be investigating the incident with you and your team. Through all of this, maintain open lines of communication with staff, including being clear about what can and can’t be discussed if parts of the response are necessarily confidential.

Don’t be afraid to make changes

As the first response is wrapped up, the process will give way to a review phase which will be conducted in partnership with external authorities. It’s important to be fully transparent with these regulators and your staff through this process. Sometimes, structural changes will be recommended and it’s important not to be afraid to implement these. Being willing to change the way your organisation does things is a central part of an effective ongoing corporate risk management strategy. In this stage, clarity is key. Seek expert advice, but also keep communicating with your staff - they’re the ones dealing with the consequences of the review directly, out in the workplace.

Recognise which situations are riskier

A range of risks exists for a range of businesses - and all must be accounted for. Natural disasters offer the same level of threat to everyone in the area, for example, but risk from aggressive or violent customers is dependent on the clientele encountered by your organisation. From project to project and task to task, your organisation will encounter different degrees of risk. Don’t leave it up to chance when dealing with particularly risky scenarios - external security consultancy is the best way to stop incidents before they happen.

Don’t go at it alone

Your organisation can never be too prepared for critical incidents. At QRisk, we have industry-leading expertise for you to access. When it’s about the health and wellbeing of your staff, and the reputation of your organisation, it doesn’t pay to go at it alone.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you craft and implement the best plan for you and your team.

Paul Walsh