Planning for Workplace Emergencies James J. Johnson Columbia Southern University Abstract At the heart of safety is good planning. That is why a company has an emergency action plan in place. Facilities or manufacturing plants should be aware of certain procedures to protect themselves and others from injury during fire and other emergencies. Company’s conducts regular emergency drills so that workers know what to do and where to proceed during an emergency. Emergencies can occur in an instant, and leave companies in a disorganized state.
Making workers feel more comfortable by proactive planning and solutions that are reactive, as Amann states in his article (2013). Companies should be familiar with: How to report fires, hazardous chemical spills, and other emergencies. The route you are assigned to take during a building evacuation. Who to ask for more information, (Keller Online, Emergency Action Plan, 2013). Prepare for the Worst No one expects the worst to occur, but when it does – the first responders and your team members will feel and be safer knowing there is an approved plan in place.
Create an EAP, (emergency action plan). In the action plan it should cover the what to do and where to go in the event of a tornado, floods, fires, chemical spills, epidemics, medical emergencies, terrorist attacks and workplace violence. This plan should be approved by your EHS manager and reviewed with your plant each year. A copy of the plan should also be accessible for any team member throughout the workplace, (J. Amann, Planning for Workplace Emergencies p28).
A large component of a good plan is a employee preparedness; laying down a solid foundation of what is expected and follow it up with continued reinforcement, throughout the year. Each new team member comes in and gets training and walked through the procedures expected. Also a annual training; start each year off with a workplace emergency plan meeting. Go over what the body of the company’s plan. Cover all aspects of plan. Follow up each month with smaller segments; it could be a email or even table tents in each of the work areas and in the cafeteria.
Any established team member ran safety groups should review notes based on the upcoming season. In the spring review seek shelter, in the summer review plant evacuations and in the fall or winter perform physical fire extinguisher training, (Amann). Make sure that the use of the phone within a plant is understood. Ensure that all team members understand how to dial out of the plant before dialing for help (9-9-1-1). Conduct AED & CPR training with all first responders and frontline leaders.
Make sure that a list is posted of all first responders, and locations of the AED’s are posted (Amann). Production numbers are so ingrained in the minds of manufacturing plants; how can you run a plant with a reduced number of staff. When a workforce gets sick with the flu or a fast spreading cold, it can hamper how a company operates. Encourage team members to take time off when they are sick. Stay at home and get better. Minimize the risk of spreading the illness at work. Along with containing the illness at home, establish a solid hand washing policy.
According to the CDC website (2013), they recommend that an employee rinse with clean water, then wash the hands with soap for 20 seconds and then rinse for 10 seconds (CDC). Reactive Amann (2013) states that support proactive safety efforts, with reactive emergency response equipment. The first one is the first aid kit. Ensure that the kit is well stocked with items that can be used in the event of an emergency. The kit should be able to address headaches, cuts and large abrasions or even diabetic attacks. They should contain items that met the OSHA regulatory compliance.
Another great reactive tool is an eyewash station. If there are any containment that make it into the eyes of an team member, they can use the eye wash station to rinse out their eye. From permanent station to portable ones; every quarter the eye wash stations should be checked. Ensure that they are in good operation. Another great piece of equipment that should be available around a facility is the chemical spill kits and fire extinguishers. Both should be placed throughout the plant and clearly marked for team members to see. Team members need to be trained on how to use them.
And they need to be inspected regularly, this will ensure that when it comes time to use the fire extinguisher or spill kit, it works. Conclusion The combination of proactive and reactive measures can reduce the frequency of workplace disasters from getting bigger than is should be. Having a thought out, written plan on what the emergency expectations are, will help build confidence in your team members. It will give the company a foundation of emergency preparedness. References John Amann, Cintas Vice President of Operations. Planning for Workplace Emergencies.