Knowing What to Do in an Emergency (Safety Talk)
When dealing with workplace safety, most of the focus is given to preventing injuries and incidents. While being proactive in preventing bad things from occurring is critical to an effective safety program, time also needs spent discussing what to do in different emergency situations if one does occur. No one wants to think of something bad happening at work, but when it does occur you need to be prepared for it.
Emergency Situations in the Workplace
There are many different kinds of emergency situations that can occur in a workplace. Depending on factors such as the work being performed, workplace setup, the geographical area the business is located in, etc. will impact what kind of emergencies could occur. Some common types of emergency situations that should be considered when discussing emergency response:
- Medical emergencies such as heart attack or stroke
- Caught-in or between moving equipment
- Electrical-related incidents
- Weather-related disasters
Obviously every type of emergency will have a different response and even the same types of emergencies may have completely different responses depending on the situation. Some things to consider when discussing emergency response in the workplace:
- Before helping a victim of an incident or before assisting in an emergency, always ensure it is safe for you to do so. Sometimes the best plan is just to get to safety. An event such as a failed confined space rescue resulting in multiple fatalities is an example of making a bad situation worse by trying to help.
- Do not overreact. Rushing or making poor choices when dealing with an emergency can result in more victims or create a worse situation in general.
- Understand your company’s policies and procedures regarding specific weather emergencies such as a tornado or flood.
- Know where emergency meeting points are at your worksite. Also be familiar with the address of where you’re at on a jobsite or for your workplace. If you have to call 911, one of the first questions they ask is- “Where are you located?”.
- Know where emergency response equipment is located onsite and how to use it. Also be familiar with emergency shutoff switches on equipment or machinery.
- Know the signs and symptoms of common medical emergencies or medical emergencies that can occur in your workplace. Knowing what to look for can make the difference in whether someone gets the medical attention they need or not.
Knowing what to do in an emergency is just as important as knowing how to prevent them from happening in the first place. All too often bad situations are made worse when individuals are ill prepared for the bad things that can happen- whether that is at work or home. Take company policies and procedures regarding emergency response seriously. Keeping calm and knowing how to respond to an emergency may save your life or those around you one day.