New workplace threats
Another factor that simplified respiratory protection in the past was that any industry with a chronological history also carried a history of hazard knowledge. Years of experience had taught generations of workers what hazards to expect.
Weathering the stormToday, however, the fallout from recent terrorist activities suggests new potential dangers to our workplaces from unknown hazards that can strike at any time. There is no clear expectation or pattern for these new threats, which can lead to exposure to unpredictable, invasive poisons. These threats make even business people who work in accounting, marketing, purchasing and other such offices susceptible to an emergency situation.
Most industrial organizations have long-standing plans for emergency response to internal incidents and similar events on their job site. In this changing world, regardless of your industry, your company should be equipped to respond to disaster-type events caused by outside forces.
It is wise to prepare at least for the most likely disaster, planning and assembling all necessary emergency gear and supplies so you can "weather the storm." If your organization or facility is large and has a prominent place in the community, chances are that local, county and state government plans may (or will soon) include your facility.
Many organizations are re-examining or initiating emergency response programs to include evacuation programs for ALL workers at their facilities. High-visibility companies in the utility, chemical and petrochemical industries, for example, with longtime safety programs, have increased their vigilance and preparedness. But companies in commercial industries that previously never had reason for security concerns are also now issuing badges and employing security organizations to safeguard their facilities.
Fortify your programHere are some ways you can fortify your safety program in light of heightened security awareness: