Stormy weather, chemical spills, fires, or worse. Do your employees know what to do in the event of a disaster?
The likelihood of natural disaster and the potential for workplace disaster to cause extreme amounts of harm highlights the need to have formal plans in place to respond to workplace emergencies and makes a formal disaster plan a “must-have” document.
You need to have a plan for not only workers, but also for any clients or customers who may be at your business when disaster strikes. Employees may not think about the information they need to deal with an emergency; but you should. What might help them to stay safe?
Emergency plans cannot cover every conceivable situation, but should supply the basic guidelines necessary to cope with most emergencies. Being physically and psychologically prepared to handle emergencies is everyone’s responsibility.
It is a good idea to have a disaster plan in place for Fire; Extreme Weather and External disasters; Chemical spill; Medical Emergencies; or Violent Acts or Persons (i.e. your Bill 168 program)
The plan should provide steps to eliminate or minimize adverse effects from emergency situations which may affect the production of work; procedures for proper response to emergencies; and instructions for your personnel to ensure that they understand their responsibilities during emergency situations.
Some things to consider when creating your plan:
- Evacuation Plan: Precautionary (move to another location within building) or Safe rooms, Urgent (exit building immediately) and Exit strategies-how to escape the building to a safer location as quickly as possible.
- Organizational Response Plans: Who from your company will respond if it is after hours? Who speaks to the media? Who takes charge of the scene?
- Back-up systems: have cell phones and walkie-talkies charged and available so that staff can stay in contact with each other/emergency services during power outages
- Preventive measures: Ensure fire extinguishers are kept charged, chemical spill and first aid kits are properly stocked;
- Prepare and provide emergency information: Make sure all emergency contact numbers are available, make emergency documents available in a variety of formats; for example, signs, policies, and through training programs. Employees may need this information in accessible formats such as larger print or audio. It may also be necessary to create a customized evacuation plan to assist persons with disabilities. If another person’s help is needed in an emergency, get the employee’s consent, then share the information on what kind of help they need with the people who will help them.
Take the Boy Scout motto to heart – “Be Prepared” – and make sure your employees are, too!