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How Utilities Companies Can Avoid PR Disasters

How Utilities Companies Can Avoid PR Disasters

Public Relations problems arise from actual problems.

That’s right. PR crises often surface when there’s something fundamentally wrong within your business that’s brushed under the rug or ignored. And until that something’s addressed, you’ve got a ticking time bomb on your hands.

Tick, Tick…

But what if we said utilities companies can drastically reduce the number of PR nightmares they have for indecent exposure, workplace accidents, or other mishaps? 

(Yes, workplace mishaps are actually something to worry about. Take the city of Boston, for example. It has suffered numerous fatalities in the past 18 months. And when workplace accidents aren’t handled properly, families dig for answers.)

Luckily, avoiding PR disasters isn’t a pipe dream. It just requires being proactive before sh!t hits the fan. 

Here’s how.


Ensure workplace safety

Electrocutions, falls, environmental stress, and fires are some of the most common workplace risks and hazards in the utility industry

While yes, some incidents are beyond manager control, doing everything you can as a company to ensure workplace safety will lessen your chances of enduring a public relations disaster.

Some measures you can take today are:

  • Properly outfit your workers for the type of work they do, including things like reflective gear
  • Take steps to prevent falls (i.e. proper ladder training, fall protection systems)
  • Pay attention to the weather
  • Put procedures in place to prevent electrocution
  • Encourage employees to report workplace hazards as they see them

And who knows? You could wind up on the list of America’s Safest Companies and win an award, just like Rosendin Electric did last year. 


Create a crisis communication plan

No matter what industry you work in, having a crisis communications plan smoothes out PR disasters before they escalate.

Include the following at a bare minimum: 

  • Explicit instructions for each department’s roles in case of a crisis
  • Contact information for PR spokespeople
  • Customizable response template for press releases
  • Social media action plan 

To address the most important elements, work through these essential steps to create a crisis communications plan.


Monitor social channels in real-time

Having an employee in a branded work vest caught on camera relieving themselves and getting it splayed all over the internet is a major PR concern. And one that’s got substance with the prevalence of phone cameras. 

It seems like every other day someone gets caught breaking indecent exposure laws.

Here is a news article about the Hays County commissioner getting caught on camera urinating in a parking lot in February. Here is another story about an unidentified man urinating on a church in April, and here’s another instance of a Zamboni driver getting sacked for public urination the same month.

In the case of your utility company, what can you do if an employee is filmed answering nature’s call in public?

Act quickly!

Make sure your social team monitors, reviews, and follows activity across your social media channels, including mentions of your brand. To save time, they can even use social listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Agorapulse.

While it won’t undo what’s already been done, you can at least staunch the wound a bit.


Better yet, provide easy access to portable bathrooms

Don’t risk your employees getting caught on camera—or worse, blown up on social media. Look for a portable toilet solution that protects your reputation, time, and wallet. 

Look no further than Brief Relief!

The Brief Relief Lavatory System comes with a privacy shelter, commode, full-sized seat, and supply of Disposa-John waste bags. It’s a complete personal bathroom at any worksite.

Set-up is simple and optimized for ultimate privacy.

Once the privacy shelter is set up, all workers have to do is place the commode inside and line it with a Disposa-John waste bag. When they’ve finished their business, they simply toss the bag away in the nearest waste bin. Disposa-Johns are odorless, and compounds within the bag convert liquids to solids (meaning they’re spill-proof, as well). Plus, they’re water-repellant, non-conductive, and fire retardant, meeting CPAI-84 standards. 

No more close calls with indecent exposures. No more sanitation concerns with smelly porta-potties. No more workers holding it in until they can find a place to relieve themselves. (True story.) 

Sound like your cup of tea? To see the complete line of Brief Relief products for your workers, visit our shop.