Can your emergency plan be more efficient? Are your employees ready? Below BLR offers important steps to improve your emergency plan along with essential training tips to administer your preparedness program effectively.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a major disaster. September is National Preparedness Month, so schedule an all-hands safety meeting to review the essentials of emergency preparedness.
As you review your program, make sure it reflects the types of emergencies your facility is most likely to experience. You may find you need to plan separate training sessions for different emergency situations, especially if you work with hazardous materials.
Your emergency training should cover the following essential information:
Likely risks. In addition to discussing site-specific hazards, address the types of natural disasters common in your area. Talk about businesses or buildings that may be terrorist targets—examples are military bases, transportation hubs, large utilities, or government buildings.
Workplace procedures. Review your site’s emergency plan and make sure employees understand their role. Discuss the location of first-aid and emergency supplies, fire alarm pulls, and extinguishers; essential shutdown procedures; when to leave and when to shelter in place; and exit routes.
Communication. Make sure employees know whom to contact in case of an emergency and where to report if they must leave the building.
Drills. Your training should include drills. Paper training or tabletop exercises are valuable, but employees are more likely to retain the lessons when they can see and experience them in action. Drills take valuable time away from production, but they can help save lives and property in an emergency.
Emergency planning compliance tips:
OSHA has definite rules about when and how often you need to conduct employee training. Among those:
- New employees must receive appropriate emergency response training when they begin work.
- All employees must receive yearly refresher training.
- Employees must be retrained whenever the emergency plan is changed.
- Workers must be retrained whenever new equipment, materials, or processes are introduced, as these could create new hazards.
- Employees must be retrained when work procedures are updated or revised.