Workplace emergencies are unforeseen circumstances that will require efficient and effective emergency procedures in place.
These incidents might pose risks to the workers, the customers, the premises, or all of the above. Worse, it can threaten life, safety, and the continuity of some business operations.
Common Workplace Emergencies
Every second can be the difference between paperwork and risk to life in a workplace emergency. The very nature of these incidents may vary, which means there is no clarity on what to expect.
Therefore, it is important to understand possible risks and dangers in the workplace and follow the emergency procedures for the best outcomes.
Workplace emergencies come in different forms as they cater to specific industries and environments. Conducting risk assessments and identifying possible hazards may be the first step in an emergency.
Common workplace hazards may include
- Human-caused hazards (industrial pollution, toxic wastes, transport accidents, fires, chemical spills, manual handling, etc.)
- Health hazards that are widespread and serious illnesses (influenza, COVID-19 virus, etc.)
- Natural hazards (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes)
- Technology-related risks (equipment failure, electric shock, or power outages)
When putting emergency procedures for the workplace, it is recommended to take an all-hazards approach. To put it simply, take all potential risks and hazards into account and make preparations in case they will occur.
Steps on Creating Emergency Response Plan
Identify the Risks
Keeping everyone healthy and safe at work does not equate to buying state-of-the-art equipment and filing lots of paperwork. Taking a proactive approach and getting everyone at work involved in creating safety procedures is sometimes all it takes.
Ask everyone their opinion on possible risks and how they can impact workload and the business. Look into natural hazards, health hazards, and even utility failures causing injuries.
Make a Business Emergency Plan
Small or large businesses have a legal and ethical obligation to prepare for an emergency. In most circumstances, they occur suddenly, and we cannot predict when they will happen.
An emergency plan should include:
- Assigning emergency response personnel
- Calling emergency services
- Establishing first aid procedures
Assigning of Emergency Response Personnel
It is essential to designate an emergency response personnel or first aider, ones who are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.
First responders will be responsible for dedicated tasks such as wound care, fire safety, and other medical assistance.
Calling Emergency Services
If unsure what the next steps will be in complex injuries, the best thing to do is call triple zero (000). Contacting emergency services is the best way to get appropriate assistance right away.
When doing so, remain calm and tell the dispatcher the location. Try to explain the situation and tell them how many people are possibly hurt.
Establish First Aid Procedures
While waiting for emergency services to arrive, there are three basic steps to follow for effective emergency response. These are:
Do a quick check of the scene before approaching to avoid hazards, and the responder does not end up as another casualty.
Perform a primary survey on the victims and check for responsiveness, breathing, or any signs of life. Do also note any life-threatening bleeding and conditions.
Perform First Aid
Begin to administer CPR and use an AED for unconscious victims who are non-breathing or experience breathing difficulties.
Provide care based on the level of training and continue to monitor victims if additional care is necessary.
In addition, everyone in the workplace – workers, management, and visitors – should be aware of where the first aid station is.
Ensure that any incident is reported, no matter how minor or major the injury is. Minor complications often develop into major problems, so it is necessary to report all cases promptly.
Emergencies do happen, and they often occur with no warning. The best thing any company could do is prepare its workers and management for proper emergency procedures.
In that way, when anything unexpected unfolds in the workplace, the immediate priority should be the safety of everyone.
Do not assume that the business is immune from these kinds of situations. Being prepared is one the most important thing to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy. Consider getting group first aid training for your workers.