There are events or occurrences that no man or scientific device can ever predict. One of these fortuitous events is an earthquake. It is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth’s surface. The shaking can result in damage to buildings and bridges, disruption of electric and phone service and it could trigger other forms of destruction such as landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires, and even ocean waves. Because of the destructive nature of earthquakes, it is important that everyone should be prepared for such calamity.
It can be noted that earthquakes are unpredictable. If you’re working, then there’s a high probability that you’re going to be in the office when this disaster happens. So, what can you do to ensure your safety as well as everyone else’s?
Employers have the principal obligation to take care of their employees. It is their duty to ensure earthquake safety in the workplace in times of calamity. In order for your workplace to be prepared, there have to be an earthquake safety guidelines for employees to follow when an earthquake actually strikes.
Here are some of the things the employers and employees can do to prepare the workplace before an earthquake occurs:
It is important for employers to conduct a thorough survey of the workplace. They should be able to identify harmful objects and eliminate them. Secure all cabinets, shelves, and heavy equipment that could tip over during an earthquake. Storing heavy items on top of shelves is also not a good idea as it might fall on someone. Also, avoid placing items that might fall into aisles or hallways that are part of the evacuation routes. As much as possible, arrange your workspaces in a way that when cubicle partitions fall, it would not trap an employee. Make sure that all exits are marked visibly that employees can be able to go out.
Teaching employees on what to do during an earthquake can help ensure their safety. Learning about the building and earthquake safety procedures can go a long way in avoiding panic among employees. Identify the different evacuation routes, medical kits, and fire extinguishers so that employees will know where to get them when they need it. It is also important that you pick “safe places”. These safe places could be under a sturdy table or desk or it could be an interior wall that is away from the windows or tall furniture that could fall on you. Injury statistics suggest that moving as little as ten feet during an earthquake is most likely to be injured.
It is important that employees know about the drop, cover, and hold-on routine in a safe place. The employees need to practice these situations so that they become an automatic response. Practicing these safe earthquake procedures at least twice a year can help reinforce these safe behaviors. So when an earthquake actually occurs, the employees are able to respond and automatically protect themselves against injury.
Supervisors should brief employees on the emergency plan when an earthquake occurs. The discussion should cover evacuation procedures, communication techniques, and emergency contacts. An emergency team should also be formed that would lead and execute the emergency plan. This emergency team should take a first-aid class from organizations such as the American Red Cross and American Heart Association. The training will help the team stay focused on what to do during an earthquake.
During emergency situations, it is crucial to have emergency supplies ready and stored in an accessible place. Supplies should include medical kit, flashlights, battery-powered radio, towels, garbage bags, dust masks, can opener, and a whistle. It is also recommended to have 3-days worth of non-perishable food such as canned goods, crackers, granola bars, and water. It is important to note that gas, electricity, and phone service may not be available in these situations so it’s better to have a solar cell phone in order to communicate with the authorities or a rescue team.
Being prepared for natural disasters will not just ensure safety among the employees but it can also save lives. If you want to know more about how you can effectively place earthquake safety guidelines that would safeguard employees, you can reach out to Gurmu OccMed Svs. Dr. Dabi Gurmu comes with vast experience and has a thorough knowledge of OSHA standards & workers’ compensation laws among others.