It has been a tough year for the construction industry. In today’s New York Times, the article “Soaring Reminder of Danger” is critical of safety issues at a skyscraper under construction in South Korea. The article cites a perception of “speed and efficiency at the expense of safety.” While safety is a priority in the U.S., everyone in the industry (general contractors, subcontractors, developers, architects, or engineering firms) knows a fatal accident can happen in any place at any time.
When you face a disaster, a tornado of fear and emotion can overcome your best judgement. You will have questions. What went wrong? Should I contact the family? Will I face litigation? What do I tell the media? Will this damage my firm? What do I say to my other clients? Should I have a staff meeting with my employees? What do I do first? What is the right thing to do?
French/West/Vaughan’s renowned crisis com/issues management practice provided counsel during three high profile fatal construction accidents this year. In total, 10 people lost their lives in the accidents. It is devastating and emotionally exhaustive for everyone involved in a tragedy.
Construction accidents have a unique set of communication challenges. If the victim is a day laborer, it may not be clear which contractor is the actual employer. You may not know who is responsible for the accident, since the investigation is incomplete. Construction accidents are aggressively covered in the media. Reporters may conduct their own investigations on the front pages of newspapers and even make their own conclusions independent of OSHA or other authorities.
It is important to think about communication issues before you are under the stress of a crisis. French/West/Vaughan’s “Construction Crisis Control” program helps guide you through important communication decisions. The program will develop a custom strategic crisis plan. The plan includes hypothetical disaster scenarios and prepares you with on-camera media training, draft statements to the media, Q&A sheets, and website response tools. The plan also identifies and prepares your company’s crisis response team.
FWV’S “Construction Crisis Control” program will:
- Prepare company management to effectively handle crisis communications
- Help staff respond in a unified and professional manner
- Strategically protect or enhance the company’s reputation
- Manage the distribution of critical, sensitive information to victims, employees, clients, media and the public
- Maintain trust, confidence and goodwill during the crisis, and beyond
In many cases, insurance policies cover the cost of public relations counsel during a disaster. Yet, you can be much more effective at managing a crisis if you prepare correctly before the worst ever happens.
Begin your crisis plan by calling FWV at 919.832.6300.
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