How To Prepare Your Factory for an Emergency
Factories already provide ample opportunities for visitors and workers to get injured on the premises. Add hazardous weather, earthquakes, fires and potentially dangerous intruders, and the factory becomes an even more aggressive work environment. That’s why it’s important that you and your employees are ready for the unexpected, trained and knowledgeable in appropriate, life-saving emergency preparedness.
Your factory operates several shifts a day, and hundreds of employees enter and exit the building in a twenty-four hour period. So, it’s important you provide clear, consistently available information about how each employee ought to respond to any number of emergencies.
Emergency Response Crews
By equipping your factory employees with CPR training, emergency response procedures and other first-response practices, you make an overwhelming problem manageable. If an area of the building caught fire, would you have trusted, informed employees ready to direct others to the nearest, safest exit? If a tornado were sighted nearby, would your night shift crew know where in the building to take shelter? By creating emergency response teams—also called Incident Response Teams—you ensure that a trained responder will always be present.
Once you have trained an emergency response team, conduct frequent emergency drills that provide real-time experience for your response team members. This will also help other employees to know who to look for if an emergency were to occur. In many factories and warehouses, badges are used to help identify response team members. Your employees should know who is a member of the emergency response team so they are willing to follow instructions in the case of a serious emergency.
Worksite-specific Emergency Equipment
Not only should you provide worksite-specific emergency response equipment, but employees should also be regularly trained how to use this equipment, such as eyewash stations and decontamination showers. The minutes saved by having informed employees could make the difference between serious injury and prevention. Specific chemical spills should be responded to with knowledge of the chemical and the appropriate safety response, so labeling should be checked and updated frequently.
Emergency Response Equipment for Hazardous Weather and Events
Tornadoes and earthquakes make an already-dangerous factory extremely unsafe. High winds can blow sharp objects through the air, and earthquakes can cause uprights and storage racks to topple. In the case of recurring weather hazards like tornadoes in the Tornado Belt—or earthquakes along fault lines—employees should be trained to use emergency response equipment like buckles to latch equipment to their desks. Also, routine inspection of storage racks should occur weekly. Heavy equipment and structures might hold up fine for day-to-day operations, but evaluate the stability of these objects with strength of tornadoes and earthquakes in mind.
Emergency preparedness saves lives. With the combination of trained employees and worksite-specific safety equipment, you can do a lot to keep employees safe. But now is the time to take steps, not when an emergency occurs. You and your employees will feel more comfortable when you know how to respond, whatever the emergency.