Emergency Preparedness In The Workplace

Emergency Preparedness In The Workplace

Guest post by Jane Garbutt.

Medical emergencies and accidents in the workplace are common, with 313 million individuals getting injured in their line of duty and 2.3 million deaths annually, according to a report by the International Labor Organization. While a company can reduce the number of incidents by establishing safety procedures, it’s impossible to completely avoid them. This is why having emergency preparedness plans is critical. It saves the lives of employees, customers, and contractors in the workplace at the time of the emergency. It protects your business from disruptions and loss of equipment, stock, and inventory. It also protects your company from lawsuits and hefty compensation fees that might be devastating. So how can you prepare your company for emergencies?

Conduct Risk Assessments

Emergencies in the workplace are brought about by both natural and man-made disasters. These include extreme weather, wildfires, vandalism, earthquakes, chemical spills, explosions, and disease outbreaks. Some of these can be forecast like tornadoes, but others – like a fire – can happen without warning. A team should be tasked with identifying potential risks to your operations. These could be based on the type of business you run and the geographical location of your company. The first step in any risk assessment plan is to identify hazards and risk factors in the workplace. These could be equipment, processes, or conditions that pose harm to employees and customers. Once this is done, the team can analyze risks that could result from the hazard and come up with ways to eliminate or manage them.

Devise An Emergency Evacuation Plan

Once you have identified potential hazards and risks, you can prepare for worst-case scenarios by coming up with an evacuation plan that meets OSHA’s emergency action plan standards. First, put up an emergency notification system. This can be in the form of a public address system or a texting network – the purpose of which is to communicate to everyone in the facility the need to shelter, evacuate, or lock down operations. Ensure your notification system caters for people with disabilities and those who may not understand the primary language in use. Secondly, decide who will be in charge of sending out notifications and who will stay behind to shut down operations in case of an evacuation. The next step is coming up with evacuation routes and exits, followed by implementing a post-evacuation protocol. You should choose a place where affected individuals can meet after the event, so you can verify if everyone made it out and if there are any injuries (hint: ePACT’s Roll Call feature can help here!). Once all this is set up, call in a local fire department to conduct a drill, and teach employees about the evacuation procedure.

Have A Medical Emergency Response System In Place

Should there be any medical emergencies, they will require prompt action. Ensure your company has a fully stocked first aid kit and an automated external defibrillator. Organize seminars where your employees can learn first aid, CPR, and how to handle seizures. Should there be any emergencies, they should be able to assist the injured individual within the recommended response time of four minutes. This will help save the life of injured personnel while you call 911 and wait for an ambulance.

Protect The Well-being Of Your Employees And Your Business

The responsibility of paying medical bills for workers who get injured while on duty usually falls on the company. It’s important to plan ahead for this with employee liability insurance coverage. Medical bills are expensive, especially if someone requires long-term medical support, and trying to cover those costs may take a toll on your financial stability. By getting workers compensation insurance you can rest easy knowing your employees will get medical care, and a portion of their pay, to help with their living situation without interfering with your business funds.

Occupational emergencies can threaten the lives of your employees, interrupt your business, and cause environmental as well as physical damage. Being prepared for emergencies is key if your company is to recover after the disaster. In accordance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Motto, while disasters may not plan ahead, you can.

Feature image photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.

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