August Safety Corner: Workplace Emergencies

First Aid Kit

A workplace emergency is a situation that threatens workers, customers, or the public, disrupts or shuts down operations, or causes physical or environmental damage. There are a number of potential causes for workplace emergencies, so it is important that all job sites have a plan in place in case of an emergency. 

Accounting For Personnel In An Emergency 

Emergency situations can be chaotic and confusing, making it hard to figure out where people are located, and if they are in danger. It is crucial to have procedures in place during emergencies or evacuations to ensure all of your personnel, vendors and site customers are fully accounted for. 

Here are OSHA’s recommendations for a personnel evacuation policy: 

  • Designate assembly areas where employees should gather after evacuating
  • Take a head count after the evacuation. 
  • Identify the names and last known locations of anyone not accounted for
  • Establish a method for accounting for non-employees such as suppliers and customers
  • Establish procedures for further evacuation in case the incident expands

If first responders need to respond to an emergency situation, proper accountability will assist them with scene management and allow them to better understand the scope of the situation. 

Medical Emergencies: Ensure Your Team Knows How To Respond

In the case of a medical emergency, team members may need to respond to an injured or ill person. If someone on a job site experiences a medical emergency, follow these steps:

  1. Survey and secure the scene around the injured person 
  2. Check on the person 
  3. If the situation is serious—call 911 
  4. Ensure someone stays with the person; Notify others to assist and/or guide first responders to the exact location of the person
  5. If trained, get medical equipment, stabilize injured person and provide basic 1st aid until emergency responders arrive
  6. Clean up the scene: Be mindful of proper disposal for bodily products, refill first aid kits, and meet with first responders to determine if any further action needs to be taken

A first aid response may be needed in some cases, as well. First aid is defined as the initial or immediate assistance given to someone who has been injured or taken ill before the arrival of qualified medical assistance. While first aid training is recommended for anyone on a job site, you can always remember the “ABCs” of first aid: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. 

We all want to avoid emergencies at the workplace. But if an emergency does occur while you’re at work, it’s better to be prepared and have a plan in place. 

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