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How to prepare for a crisis on-site

Rhino Trade Insurance 04 May 2023

It goes without saying that every company needs to have an emergency plan for when things get messy. It's especially important for trade businesses due to the increased level of risk posed by the industry. 

You can’t always avoid a crisis occurring (although there’s plenty of measures you should take to avoid them as far as possible). But should a crisis arise, you must have a thorough plan of action in place to ensure harm is minimised and your company will live to fight another day.

Rhino Trade Insurance have put together a handy guide for you, with information about planning, training and crisis management.

A crisis can come out of the blue.

Tradesmen and women, from Plumbers to Electricians and Gardeners to Window Fitters, may run into an unexpected situation requiring quick and decisive management action. The situation might include things like: 

  • Serious injuries or death on-site
  • Medical emergency 
  • Exposure to hazardous materials
  • Violence
  • Fires
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Pandemic 
  • Natural disasters
  • Any physical situation that endangers people on-site or the project itself.

A crisis can happen at any moment, whether a site is operational or not. 

The first line of defence is to conduct a risk assessment for each job site. These should be done for every job, and backed up by a broader crisis management plan. Implementing strategies that are appropriate for the type of building and project location and effectively communicating the plan's strategy and objectives to all contractors working on the site are essential for success. 

Your crisis management plan must include detailed instructions for a practical course of action that will reduce the crisis's effects and safeguard employees, customers, and third parties. 

Need protection against risks and hazards? Check out our Public Liability Insurance here.

But how does it work for businesses?

Crisis management means getting ready for, controlling, and recovering from any unanticipated events that could hurt people, the environment or your company. Anything that jeopardises a company's success qualifies as a crisis, from a natural catastrophe, on-site accident to exposure to toxic chemicals.

As well as causing potential harm to people or the environment, a crisis may have an impact on a company's operations, personnel, finances, and reputation, so it's vital to control the situation.

In business, crisis management is sometimes called business continuity. It’s essentially the same thing. A business continuity plan typically focuses on ensuring that a company can continue with its essential functions during a crisis, such as a pandemic.

You and your staff should all be trained on the crisis management plan, with well-understood and clearly-defined roles.

You can find out more about training here: Crisis Management - Online Training Course (The Mandatory Training Group)

What a standard crisis plan should include

Any trade business may face various risks that result in a crisis. Having a clear picture of the different phases of an emergency is important to being able to act quickly and decisively. The following are the steps you should expect so that you can form a relevant crisis management plan for your firm. 

The five main phases are as follows:

Identify and evaluate hazards

Understanding the effects each risk and hazard could have on your company.


Put measures in place to mitigate risks and develop a strategy for when they occur.

Handle the issues

The success of your business depends on how well you effectively roll out your crisis management plan once you are prepared and spring into action when needed. 


Aim to overcome any crisis by swiftly and smoothly returning to your business's prior state before the event took place.

Reference for the future

Capturing information and data as a future reference point will stand you in good stead if another crisis occurs.

Consider exploring the Incident Response and Crisis Management Training Course (Business Continuity Institute)

How to plan for these stages

To develop a crisis management plan, you must respond to the following essential questions:

  • What emergencies might have an impact on your company?
  • How might these events affect various aspects of your company?
  • What steps would you have to take in order to handle the problems you've identified?
  • Who in the company would be in charge of managing the crisis?

Your procedures must be written down and shared with any employees or contractors so they can be executed smoothly should something arise. Everyone should have access to a copy - there’s no use keeping it in a dusty folder that only one person has access to.

You should consider what roles your employees will play in handling an emergency, and ask them if they require any additional training to fulfil this role. 

After writing a crisis management plan, you should review your strategy often and update it to account for any new threats posed to your trade business.

How to write a crisis plan for your trade business

Whatever the nature of the crisis, you’ll need an easy-to-follow written plan to help reduce or control potential negative effects on your company in general. 

In addition, tradespeople should also create a written strategy for specific construction sites they are working on to help them get ready for any potential incidents while there, including nominated personnel. Every person on the building site should know their role and duty if something goes wrong.

When writing a plan,, you should aim to include the following: 

  • Step 1: Establish potential crises on specific job sites.
  • Step 2: List staff and their responsibilities.
  • Step 3: Create a chain of command and how communications will take place.
  • Step 4: A PR response to alleviate any public interest.
  • Step 5: Ensure all employees and contractors have read and understood it.

After a crisis, your best course of action is to learn and progress. Have a debrief of the incident and update your current crisis management strategy to help manage any future incidents.

Find out more on crisis management training here: The Risk and Crisis Management online certificate course (London School of Economics)

Talk to Rhino

When handling a crisis, Rhino Trade Insurance is your one-stop shop for ensuring you are protected. In an industry full of hazards, your best bet alongside a crisis management plan is to cover your business with a comprehensive insurance policy. Having a crisis management plan is an excellent start, and planning for risks is essential; however, should something get out of hand on-site, insurance will always be your safety net. 

The team at Rhino have years of experience in the trades. Our policy experts have created straightforward cover options ranging from Public Liability Insurance, Employers' Liability Insurance, Tool cover and more

Call us on 0116 243 7904 if you have any questions, or browse our website for a quick quote in under a minute. 

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