You don’t need to watch the news 24-7 to know that emergency situations happen every day. Floods, earthquakes, tornados, unsafe work conditions, active shooters—the what-ifs can feel overwhelming for employers seeking to keep their employees safe and their risks down. With a little forethought and ongoing training, emergency and safety preparedness can be easily implemented.
According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), a workplace emergency is “a situation that threatens workers, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or man-made, and may include hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, winter weather, chemical spills or releases, disease outbreaks, releases of biological agents, explosions involving nuclear or radiological sources, and many other hazards.”
While telling you exactly what to do and how to prepare for every situation is impossible (and could fill 50 blog posts), here are a few starting recommendations.
Create a safety and emergency team
If you don’t already have a team or committee focused on safety, we suggest you create one. Ask or nominate employees that you trust to be on the committee. The committee’s purposes are to share the responsibility of safety, encourage best practices among other employees, and take some work off your plate! Of course, you should oversee all initiatives and processes.
Evaluate your workplace’s current plan
Perhaps your company is already completely prepared for any emergency… but odds are there is room for improvement. With help from your safety committee, take a deep dive into your current processes and fully understand where you’re succeeding, where you’re falling short, and where you can improve.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What safety and emergency situations have we not considered? (See OSHA’s list above!)
- Are our exits clearly marked?
- Are we properly training all new hires (including temporary workers) on safety, emergency, and evacuation procedures?
- Do employees have all necessary PPE? (All temporary workers from LaborWorks will!)
Once you have a plan in place, stick with it and train often!
Become acquainted with OSHA’s resources
Not surprisingly, OSHA is bursting with helpful resources, support, and must-know information. We strongly suggest starting there as you evaluate, build, or improve upon your workplace’s safety and emergency procedures. Check out OSHA’s comprehensive insight on emergency preparedness and response here!