September is National Preparedness Month, and OSHA is alerting employers about emergencies that can be the result of man-made or natural causes. Such emergencies can include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, explosions, civil disturbances, fires, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, workplace violence and terrorism.

While OSHA does notrequireall establishments to have an emergency action plan, the agencyencouragesall businesses to have one. According to OSHA, few people are able to think clearly and logically in a crisis, which is why it is important to prepare for an emergency before it happens. OSHA's interactive, Web-basedEvacuation Plans and Procedures eToolis a resource to help employers prevent employee injuries during emergencies.

Designed to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action, National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort held each September. National Preparedness Month 2007 is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Throughout the month, Homeland Security is working with a variety of organizations, including local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to highlight the importance of emergency preparedness and promote individual involvement through events and activities across the nation.