Why Emergency Planning is a Critical Component of Workplace Safety

With the fun of summer upon us, it’s easy to get distracted by vacations, sporting events and other activities outside of the workplace. That makes now the perfect time to remind everyone about the importance of workplace safety, especially as National Safety Month comes to a close. The year’s theme from the National Safety Council, “safety: it takes all of us,” is focused on continuous risk reduction. Emergency planning is an essential part maintaining a safe workplace. This post explains why and provides some resources for more easily making sure you have an effective emergency plan in place.

Workplace Emergency Realities

Unless you’ve experienced a workplace emergency first hand, it can be easy to become complacent about emergency planning. Especially as your tasks and responsibilities pile up at work. With employee and customer lives at stake, in addition to ongoing business considerations, a current emergency plan is simply too important to ignore. Consider that in 2012, there were nearly a half-million structural fires in the U.S., which killed 2,470 people, injured nearly 15,000 more and caused nearly $10 billion in property damage. Moreover, extreme weather events in the U.S., including flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wild fires continue to wreak extensive havoc on communities and businesses every year. While many emergencies are often caused by forces outside of your control, a good emergency plan can save lives and get you back to regular operations much faster.

Emergency Planning Tips and Resources

According to the National Safety Council, “a successful safety program depends on spotting hazards early, evaluating their risk and removing or controlling them before harm is done.” They emphasize that the quality of planning and training that go into an emergency plan—along with working toward continuous improvements—can make a huge difference in the potential costs of an emergency.

As part of emergency planning, it is of course important to consider Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Keep in mind, however, that simply meeting OSHA standards does not mean you have a comprehensive emergency plan and that some of the equipment specifications and response standards may be outdated.

Fortunately, the National Safety Council provides a couple of resources that are helpful for assessing your current emergency plan:

As you create an emergency plan and work to continually improve safety, remember that getting back to business quickly and safely after an emergency can be a very complex and difficult challenge. So it’s a good idea to establish a relationship with a reputable restoration contractor who can quickly and safely get you back on track.

Resources:
http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-in-the-us
http://www.nsc.org/safety_work/empreparedness/Pages/Emergency_Preparedness.aspx
http://www.nsc.org/safety_work/empreparedness/Documents/Emergency Preparedness Documents/OSHA Requirements Related to Emergencies.pdf
http://www.nsc.org/safety_work/empreparedness/Documents/Emergency Preparedness Documents/Readiness Assessment.pdf
http://www.nsc.org/safety_work/empreparedness/Documents/Emergency%20Preparedness%20Documents/Basic%20Components%20of%20an%20Emergency%20Plan.pdf