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WorkSource wants all workers to be safe while in the workplace. Whether a manager, CEO or employee, steps should be taken to make sure that your work setting is prepared for any type of emergency in the workplace. OSHA has published a new booklet outlining how to prepare for an emergency in the workplace. WorkSource Staffing breaks down what you need to know in order to keep your employees safe.

What is an Emergency?

The definition of an “emergency” differs depending on the atmosphere and circumstances surrounding it. OSHA defines a workplace emergency as: an unforeseen situation that threatens employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or manmade.

Develop an Action Plan

When workplace emergencies happen it can be very difficult to stay calm and think clearly. Having an action plan prepared ahead of time can help eliminate or reduce a crisis situation, and can save lives. An emergency action plan (EAP) covers designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety from all types of emergencies. While not all employers are required to establish an emergency action plan, putting one together is a good way to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency.

How to Develop an Action Plan

Start by gathering top level employees and managers together to sit down and brainstorm possible emergency situations that could affect your workplace. It should be tailored to your worksite and include information of all potential scenarios that could play out. Conduct a hazard assessment to determine what, if any, physical or chemical hazards in the workplace could cause an emergency. If you have more than one worksite, each site should have an emergency action plan tailored for that worksite. When it comes to exit strategies and fire safety, make sure you have clear indicators for where the fire exit doors are located, and have floor plans posted so employees know where to go. Emergency escape procedures should be practiced every so often and should be clearly explained in an emergency action plan. Employees or managers who are designated as part of an emergency action team should have explicit directions for their roles and the action plan should include department names, phone numbers, and the roles of each team member, along with an outside emergency phone numbers. Lastly, designate an assembly location for each of your worksites, so that employees know where to go once outside the building, and are safely clear from any danger.

Where to Go for More Information

There are three many groups that can provide information for safe guarding your employees including Safety Standard Specification Groups and Fire Safety Groups. For information about local and regional OSHA offices, what businesses are required to have an EAP, or to find more information about EAP’s and local groups contact OSHA at 1-800-321 OSHA or visit the OSHA website.

WorkSource, a premiere staffing agency in Burlington, Iowa, understands the importance of workplace safety. We wish for both employers and employees to understand the importance of emergency action plans and OSHA requirements. For more information on these and other safety standards contact our team at WorkSource today.

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