Emergencies happen when we least expect them. While every situation is different, a few consistent strategies and proper planning can help mitigate damages and ensure the safety of those involved, especially in emergencies related to natural disasters or on worksites.
1. Identify worst-case scenarios
Brainstorm possible scenarios among your team. Expect the unexpected.
2. Develop (then rehearse) an action plan
Depending on your work site, develop a general action plan (for reporting and addressing an emergency) and action plans related to specific emergencies you could encounter (for example, a chemical hazard or fire).
3. Assign responsibilities
When there is clearly designated responsibility, individuals can hold one another accountable. This also ensures individuals will adhere to procedures outlined in your action plan.
4. Designate safe spaces and an evacuation plan
Make sure there are areas away from zones you’ve identified where there could be hazards. Use these spaces to assemble and monitor the wellness of your employees.
5. Plan for the aftermath
First, plan for how you’ll support your employees and their health and safety; second, determine what resources (financial, space, or staff) you may need to keep operations running smoothly.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a great resource for a thorough overview of OSHA standards when it comes to worksite emergencies.