How to prepare for an emergency in the workplace
Workplace emergencies are unpredictable, but preparing your employees can prevent the situation from worsening.
Managers should understand the different threats their offices face and create a preparedness plan for all of them. These efforts could help make businesses and workers safer. Take a look below to learn more:
Types of workplace emergencies
It does not matter whether you run an office or a construction site – danger can still arise. All workplace emergencies should be taken seriously, but they can vary in form and urgency. The most common emergency situations that occur in the workplace include employee health problems, fire, severe weather, toxic chemical spills and human threats. Each of these emergencies requires different levels of preparedness and foreknowledge.
How to prepare for the different emergencies
Knowing how to handle certain emergency situations can sometimes be the difference between life and death. However, not all emergencies can be approached the same way.
Employee health problems – This is a truly sensitive issue. Health complications in the office or work site should be addressed with caution. The first line of action is identify the medical emergency. If you and your coworkers are unable to assist the person with OSHA required medical equipment, then you should contact emergency medical services. Remember every patient may react differently to certain treatments, so if you are uncomfortable assisting, it is safer to call professional help.
Fire – Every office building is required to have a fire escape and a plan of action. Offices should also have posters that display where the nearest fire exits are and a safe meeting place once employee are out of the building. It can also be a good plan to hold monthly fire drills so employees are comfortable following the plan in the event of a real fire emergency.
Severe weather – Threatening weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards and more can cause problems and dangerous situations for your employees. Managers should have a battery-operated weather radio with them to anticipate these events. Similar to the fire emergency situation, work sites and offices should have a plan of action for these extreme weather occurrences. This can mean informing the office about tornado shelter locations and having a work from home policy in place to keep employees out of other hazardous conditions.
Toxic chemicals – While toxic chemical spills may be more common in warehouses and construction sites than in office building, all workplaces should have a plan of action for this event. Every location that has these toxic substances on hand should also keep personal protective equipment around for handling and cleanup.
Human threats – A less thought of but not uncommon emergency situation comes from human threats. This can be a hostage situation or an active shooter on the premises. Your employees should be aware of what to do in these scenarios. Having a safe room or an exit plan may save lives.
Why emergency preparedness is important
The more prepared your employees are, the less likely an emergency situation will turn fatal. By outlining clear plans of actions for the different emergency situations, you can prevent your workers from making costly mistakes or worsening the danger in the event of one of the emergencies listed above.
Emergencies can happen anytime in nearly any workplace. Office managers and site leaders need to take the initiative to ensure their employees are prepared when they do occur.
For more information on workplace safety and preparedness training, consider using MasteryTCN’s online courses.