When an emergency (anything from an explosion to workplace violence) strikes your business, taking the wrong action can result in confusion, damage, injury — or even death. That’s why it’s vital to have a comprehensive plan for dealing with different types of mishaps.
For example, in the event of a tornado, you’d want to have your workers sheltered in a safe place inside your facility. On the other hand, in a fire, you want them to be able to flee the building quickly and safely. The type of building might be a factor in your decision. Most modern factories and office buildings have steel frames, which means they might be more sound structurally than small business premises. However, a major earthquake or explosion will affect nearly every type of structure; some buildings will collapse, while others will be left with weakened roofs, walls, or floors.
Consider both emergency situations that would require evacuation and those that would indicate the need to stay put, and plan accordingly. For example, what would happen if a part of your facility caught fire? Suppose there were severe flooding in your immediate area? How would you respond to a chemical spill? What would you do if an ex-employee with a gun was threatening your workers?
Certain natural disasters, such as windstorms or large-scale chemical or biological releases outside your facility call for “sheltering-in-place” (selecting an interior room or rooms, normally with no or few windows, and taking refuge there). In many cases, local authorities will issue advice to shelter-in-place via TV or radio. Designate a safe haven, or havens, inside your building for employees until the danger has passed. Hold shelter-in-place drills, as well as evacuation drills.
If any employees need to stay behind in an emergency so that they can shut down certain equipment or perform other duties, your action plan should set out detailed procedures for them. Make sure that these workers are able to recognize when to abandon the operation or task and evacuate before their exit path is blocked.
To learn more about designing and implementing an emergency action plan for your business, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time. We’re here to help you protect your business from risk.