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 to be spent learning what to do in an emergency situation, 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 the workplace. Factors such as the work being performed, workplace setup and the geographical area of the business will impact what kind of emergencies could occur. When discussing emergency response, consider some of these common types of situations:

  • Medical emergencies such as heart attack or stroke
  • Caught-in or between moving equipment
  • Electrical-related incidents
  • Fires
  • Weather-related disasters
fire fighters medical emergency

Emergency Response

Obviously each 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 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 job site 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.
car accident injury

Summary

Knowing what to do in an emergency is just as important as knowing how to prevent them from happening in the first place. Ill-prepared individuals can make a bad situation worse during an emergency – whether it is at work or home. Take company policies and procedures regarding response seriously. Keeping calm and knowing how to respond may save your life or those around you one day.

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