Leblanc addressed a workshop on Tuesday. File photo

Labour Commissioner Dr. Mathew Leblanc, has stressed the need for employers across the island to safeguard their business property through effective planning to mitigate infrastructural damage during a natural disaster.

On Tuesday September 12th 2017, The Dominica Employers’ Federation in collaboration with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the International Labour Organisation (Caribbean Office) (ILO), with funding from the European Union (EU) hosted the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop under the theme “Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.”

Leblanc stated that when such challenges arise, businesses must ensure that they are prepared to develop a disaster plan that will enable them to recover from the negative impact of natural disasters and continue to operate.

“The highlight is really the importance of not just facing disaster and how we are going to deal with it but rather paint scenarios in our minds which should be placed in policy documents, which should be placed in a plan that in case the disaster happens, which most likely it will happen sometime, that we have a plan on how we are going to recover from this,” he said.

The Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery workshop is designed to help enterprises in Dominica assess and implement proactive measures in the event of worst case scenarios such as disasters.

Leblanc stated that “it is an imperative,” in this day, to have a secure disaster plan because disasters bring negative effects upon the livelihood of employees, their families and communities.

“In the event of destruction of an employer’s business, there I wish to take the opportunity to sound the call for employers to secure their investments against disasters by engaging in planning to recover from a disaster,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Dominica Employers Federation, Benoit Bardouille, stated that business owners and employers must be on the ball in their approach to planning to reduce risks.

“We need to become proactive in our approach to planning, to avoid and or mitigate those risks that can disrupt or bring our operations or our businesses to a halt. How we respond after an incident is critical, so we can regain our business operations,” Bardouille said.

He noted for example that with an earthquake, there is a high level of unpredictability on where it may strike and its magnitude, therefore a response to impacts from a “major natural event” not only keeps risks at bay, but also reduces the level of shock in response by employees.

“We need to plan our organisations response to being impacted by a major natural event to ensure that when the time comes we are not in total shock because some of the things you are seeing happening on television, the people are reacting because they are in total shock, they don’t know what to do, what steps to take and as a result of that, people react in some ways negative and you see all these lootings and all these things happening, and probably the security forces were not totally prepared to deal with the situation,” Bardouille remarked.