AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

Emergency planning & preparedness for today’s workplace

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is a great resource for safety professionals who want to make emergency plans for their organizations that are strong and complete.

Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes, as well as man-made crises such as toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radioactive leaks, explosions, bomb threats, civil disturbances, and workplace violence, are examples of emergency situations. Plans for dealing with any of these scenarios should, at a minimum, include provisions for:

Asset protection

  • Determine a safe offsite location for data storage and backup to ensure that your digital assets are safe and accessible. This will make it easier to resume normal operations once the emergency has passed.

  • Maintain an inventory of all equipment and physical assets at your site, and make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for all essential items that may need to be replaced.

  • If your facility is in an area prone to extreme weather events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, strengthen its infrastructure.

  • Determine an alternate location where your basic business operations could be relocated if the need arises.

Worker security

  • Install an alarm or public address system to notify employees of an emergency situation and the need to leave the premises or seek shelter.

  • Create escape routes from all facility locations to the nearest exit or alternate exits in the event that one or more are blocked.

  • Create procedures for safety team members who are in charge of shutting down machinery and operations in the event of an emergency.

  • Know who is scheduled to work on any given day and have a designated meeting spot for employees so that a roll call can be taken.

Emergency communications

  • Immediately notify the authorities if there is a need for medical, fire, rescue, or recovery personnel.

  • Determine a nearby location for an emergency communications and command center. This could be a school, police station, fire station, or other public facility.

  • Determine who is in charge of communicating with the media and informing the public of any lingering dangers or situational updates.

  • Ensure that you have a complete contact list for all employees, as well as onsite and offsite company leaders, customers, suppliers, and creditors.

  • You will have access to a list of approved vendors who have been pre-screened and are qualified to start repair and cleanup work at your location.

Employee training

  • Provide basic training to all employees in order for them to understand escape routes and shelter-in-place procedures.

  • Identify, establish, and train members of a safety team to serve on a fire department, HAZMAT team, and/or emergency response team who are trained in basic first aid procedures, including CPR.

  • Conduct tabletop exercises with your emergency management and safety teams to simulate worst-case scenarios.

  • Schedule a variety of drills at various levels to walk evacuation routes, practice functional responses (fire, HAZMAT), and conduct full-scale exercises with local emergency responders.