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Emergency preparedness in the workplace

An emergency presents an imminent threat to health, life, property, or the environment. Emergency planning is an essential component of any workplace health and safety policy.

Possible types of emergencies

  • explosions or fires;

  • emergencies in the medical field;

  • earthquakes caused by severe weather conditions;

  • a significant drop in electrical power;

  • spills of toxic materials.

What’s the purpose of being prepared in case of an emergency?

  • Workers and first responders should be protected from harm;

  • Prepare for potentially life-threatening situations;

  • Reducing the negative influence on the environment, equipment, tools, etc.;

  • Reduce the amount of time that your system is unavailable.

An emergency preparedness plan consists of four parts:

  • Prevention: policies and procedures to reduce the likelihood of emergencies;

  • Preparation: in order to ensure your organization’s ability to react in a timely manner;

  • Response: what to do in the event of an emergency;

  • Recovery: usual business processes will be resumed.

The following are six essential measures to prepare for an emergency:

  1. Set up a planning team that includes members from all levels and departments with the cooperation of top management.

  1. Consider potential hazards and the company’s resources.

  1. An emergency response strategy should be developed.

  1. Obtain the necessary resources, communicate, and train as outlined in the plan.

  2. Continuously improve the strategy.

Is there any value in having a documented emergency action plan?

  • Determine the scope of the problem and possible crises;

  • Response-initiating mechanisms, such as alarms;

  • Procedures for responding to certain situations based on the location;

  • Duties and obligations of those in command;

  • Power is being turned off;

  • Procedures for evacuation and assembly;

  • Protocols and methods for communication;

  • Contact lists for emergencies;

  • Lists with resources.

In order to protect yourself and others, you must be able to:

  • Identify the common types of emergencies.

  • When confronted with a problem, take action.

  • When an emergency alert goes off, take action.

  • Inquire about training and education opportunities through your workplace.