Why Employers Should Obtain Their Employees’ Emergency Contact Information

September 22, 2017

Topics: Employment Policies and Practices

Employee emergency contact information is just that – the identity of the person to call in case of emergency.  Unfortunately, emergencies happen at work more than companies would like.  The following are only some of the health and safety emergencies that have required employers to use their employee’s emergency contact form:

  • The employee passes out or otherwise gets sick at work (has a heart attack or other medical condition) and 911 is called;
  • There’s a warehouse accident and the employee has been injured;
  • The employee has not shown up at work and is not responding to calls or text messages;
  • You get a call from your employee’s roommate that the employee is in the hospital and the roommate doesn’t know who to call;
  • The employee has requested, and received, a medical leave but stops responding to requests for further information or an estimated return-to-work date;
  • The employee passes away and you need to cut a final pay check and/or pay commission owed and/or clean out the employee’s office.

Emergency contact forms should be completed as part of an employee’s on-boarding paperwork.

The emergency contact form should request that the employee provide the name, home phone number, cell phone number, and email address of at least two people to contact in the event of an emergency.  The form should not require the employee to identify his or her relationship with the individual identified, but can (and should) ask if the company can discuss the employee’s medical information with that individual.

Employers should make it clear to employees that the information will be kept confidential, shared only on a need-to-know basis and used only in an emergency.  The forms should be maintained in a confidential manner, but in a way they can be swiftly accessed when needed.