According to a recent PR Newswire Release, one in four employees are unsure of how they would protect themselves during an emergency at work.
This information, compiled in a new survey conducted by CareerBuilder, highlights the importance of having, maintaining and executing an emergency preparedness plan in the workplace.
The survey also found that:
- 94 percent of workers believe their office is a secure place to work, but a quarter claim they would have no idea if a threat, such as an armed worker, occurred.
- 30 percent believe their workspace is not well-protected from a physical threat, as well as from a digital threat.
- 21 percent of workers believe their company has no emergency plan in place for a natural disaster.
“Keeping employees protected means not only putting measures in place to keep them safe, but making sure employees are aware of the policies and procedures they can protect themselves too,” said chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder Rosemary Haefner.
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration set forth a precedent in 1970 (OSHA Act of 1970) that each employer must make their workplace free of recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious injury to employees. In regards to this, each employee must comply with occupational safety and health standards applicable to their own actions or conduct.
There are many steps to take to prepare for a workplace emergency in order to protect employees. Keep the following tips in mind when creating a plan:
- Create an emergency action plan: This type of plan covers designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employees are safe from any type of emergency. Many workplaces are required by OSHA to have a safety plan developed and ready to go if disaster strikes.
- Have an alert system: Creating a proper alert system is vital to carrying out a response to an emergency. If employees are not aware of a threat as it is happening, there can be serious injuries or casualties. Ensure emergency alarms are distinctive and can be heard, a public address system is in working order, and that the proper authorities are alerted to help as well.
- Hold drills: Holding fire evacuation drills may seem excessive, but knowing the exact plan of action during an emergency situation is important when a real event does occur. Ensure employees know what events call for an evacuation, where they must meet, how they should assemble and that everyone is accounted for.
- Imagine the worst-case scenario: Similar to the emergency action plan, it’s important to cover all the bases when it comes to safety. A team composed of employees and management should include all foreseeable potential sources of emergency, as related to the specific workplace, as well as unforeseeable events such as an active shooter.
- Know the whereabouts of all employees: Make sure employees are gathered in one place, as this ensures no one is left behind or missing.