OSHA offers tips to overcome winter emergencies
Oregon OSHA suggests employers focus on three objectives when planning for emergencies:
1) Protect the safety of your workers.
- Communication is vital before, during and after an emergency. Include emergency preparedness information in newsletters, bulletin boards, staff emails and other internal communication tools.
- Set up a telephone-calling tree, a password-protected page on the company Web site, an alert message sent to home email accounts or an answer-only voicemail recording to provide information to employees in an emergency.
- Provide workers with wallet cards detailing instructions, including phone numbers and Web sites, for getting company information during an emergency.
- Establish a process for safely evacuating your facility, if appropriate, and coordinate a safe area where workers can be accounted for.
- Once snow has fallen or ice has formed, make sure that parking lots and walkways are cleared of those hazards. Remove heavy snow accumulations from roofs to not impact structural safety of the building.
- Identify co-workers in your organization with special needs. Train people willing to help those workers with special needs get to safety and be sure they are physically suited to their responsibility. This is particularly important if a worker needs to be lifted or carried.
2) Plan for business continuity during a crisis.
- Carefully assess your company's external and internal functions to determine staff, materials, procedures and equipment that are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
3) Find resources to help you plan ahead. OSHA can help you find resources and information to develop your company's emergency action plan.