What Business Owners and Employees Need to Do When Disaster Strikes


The immense impact of the Aliso Canyon gas well blowout on Porter Ranch and surrounding towns in California is finally being recognized nationwide, yet one segment of the affected population has heretofore been ignored: business owners and their employees. Businesses in the area are suffering economic losses due to dangerous environmental conditions and residents’ relocation.

Industrial accidents or negligence can lead to a disaster anywhere, at any time, and can disrupt communities and wreak havoc on businesses as well as having a devastating effect on the environment.

Disasters like the Porter Ranch gas leak or the BP Oil Spill are examples of how the mismanagement of one business can ruin another. Here are a few tips on how to handle this type of situation if you are a business owner or an employee:

1. Keep Records of the Financial Impact

In order to successfully prove that your business has been negatively affected by an industrial crisis, you need to set up a “before and after scenario.” While it is always important to document your profits, sales, and income, it is absolutely necessary to do so during an industrial crisis. Keep records of your general profits, your lost profits, bank statements, tax records, and anything that can attribute to the financial burdens your business currently faces.

Employees should also maintain records of their earnings, loss of wages, tax records, payroll records, and any other document provided to them by the company. This information will prove crucial to showing how you have been impacted by the industrial crisis.

2. Find Out About Tax Relief

Businesses that are in distress because of industrial crises may be eligible to receive tax relief. The same applies to employees who have faced unemployment or loss of wages because of the crisis. Make sure to contact a tax professional and check the IRS website to be up to date on any tax exemptions you may be able to utilize during tax season.

3. Find Ways to Survive Loss of Revenue

An industrial crisis can bring about a recession. However, There are many kinds of businesses that generate great revenue despite a recession. For example, in the Porter Ranch crisis, many people starting installing air purifiers in their homes and offices, making air purifiers a hot commodity. One way to recover from the negative effects of a disaster is to be proactive; determine what people need at the moment and provide it.

If it’s not possible to change your business to fit current needs, try to find other ways of generating revenue in order to cope with the losses. Consider selling some of your belongings. Find ways to be frugal with daily expenditures. By keeping all of your expenses in check, you will be better equipped to survive the industrial crisis.

4. Learn More About Loan Deferment and Mortgages

Certain individuals and property owners may be able to defer their loans, depending on their credit score and their standing with the bank/property in charge. Try to appeal to your bank and have them defer your loan payments until the crisis has blown over. Remember that there is a chance you may be unsuccessful, so always count loan and mortgage payments in your monthly budgeting.

5. Find Out if You Are Eligible to Receive Compensation

If the industrial crisis was caused due to a business’ negligence in maintaining its facilities, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation for your losses. Compensation can be used to combat loss of wages, property damage, and loss of profit.

Find out whether a company was at fault for the crisis and conduct some research to find any litigations against the company. You may be able to join a class action case and be part of a bigger group seeking justice. Make sure you thoroughly investigate the law firm you decide to pursue the lawsuit with. Check out the firm’s past settlements and history.

While these tips may not be able to prevent the economic losses you face during a shocking industrial crisis, they can keep you prepared to have leverage in the future- leverage you can use to receive compensation, relief, or simply get back on your feet.