Winter storms that bring snow and freezing rains can disrupt business operations if companies aren't prepared.

Businesses should update continuity plans for winter storms

While businesses only need to update their disaster recovery planning documents periodically, business continuity plans often need to be adapted on a more frequent basis, responding to the challenges of new technologies, seasons or other external factors.

This winter, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement reminding businesses about the dangers posed by the potentially inclement weather that some parts of the country experience. It also stressed the need for business owners to be familiar with the agency's policies regarding their industry.

Since the agency suggested that 70 percent of injuries to fleet vehicle workers occur during an accident, with 25 percent of these incidents happening during a storm, employers may want to revisit their contingency plans before a major storm crosses any of their delivery paths.

Similarly, businesses that conduct their activities in office environments may need to ensure that their workers have the tools they need to work remotely. While winter weather may not necessitate the purchase of hot sites, enabling cloud computing functions, as well as a protocol for their use, could be beneficial.

In the release, OSHA reminded employers that it is their responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers, and that part of this task requires them to determine an effective winter storm response and recovery plan that mitigates potential damage.

Due to the need for flexibility, business owners that are having trouble finding creative solutions to potential winter weather problems may be well advised to obtain the advice of a business continuity consultant that can provide their expertise. When looking for a firm, businesses should search for a team of industry professionals capable of offering a variety of services that can also aid more long-term planning, such as entities that specialize in conducting table top exercises and hot site contract negotiation.