Emergency Situations in the Workplace
As a business owner, it is your job to keep your employees safe at work. You can keep your workplace a safe environment by educating your employees on your business procedures for emergency situations. Check out these tips for dealing with emergency situations in the workplace.
Escape Procedures and Routes
It is important to educate your employees on your building's fire escape plans. Explain the best possible way to exit the building, which exits are closest to them and where the alternative exits are located. Decide on a place for your staff to meet once everyone has exited the building. Hold a practice fire drill at least once a year and go over the procedures with new employees between the annual drills. Ask one or two capable employees to perform tasks during an emergency such as announcing an evacuation over the intercom and getting a head count at the meeting place after an evacuation.
If you are unable to escape, you can create an area of refuge by following these steps:
- First, create a barrier between you and the fire. Do this by going into a room that is unaffected by the fire and shut the door. Then, stuff the gap under the door with a wet cloth and close the vents. By doing this you can seal out the smoke and wait safely until
- Don't break the windows. If you need air, open the window a crack.
- Stay under the smoke where the air is freshest. Keep a wet cloth over your nose and mouth and try to breathe only through your nose.
- Signal for help by hanging an easy to see object in the window.
- If you have a phone near you, call 911 for help.
Medical Emergency Procedures
If an employee experiences a medical emergency, it is crucial to act quickly. Designate someone at your business to make phone calls to 911, building management (if applicable), and to the victim’s emergency contact person. If it’s necessary and you are able to do so safely, render first aid to the victim. Always have one person stay with the victim until the paramedics arrive.
If your workplace is robbed, the first step is to stay calm and encourage the rest of your employees to do the same. Try to avoid eye contact with the assailant and don’t make any sudden movements. Follow his or her demands; whatever he or she wants isn’t worth your life or the lives of others. If you have an opportunity to press a silent alarm without being noticed, do so. If your workplace is not equipped with an alarm system, dial 911 inconspicuously and leave the phone line open so the operator can find your address and hear what is going on. Allow the assailant to leave without a fight. When help the police arrive, try to give them as much information about the robber as possible such as height, weight, ethnicity, distinct markings, vehicle license plate, etc.
If you notice a stranger hanging around the lobby, garage or parking lot of your building, do not hesitate to contact the police. Try to give police a description of the person and behavior. Sometimes, these suspicious people are profiling a person or business so they can carry out a crime in the near future. Never let employees walk out of the building by themselves. If possible, install surveillance cameras and lights outside of your building to deter criminal activity.
Safety should always be one of you main priorities—especially when it comes to your staff. Talk to your employees about your business’ emergency situation procedures today.