Preparing for workplace emergencies: Know your role

Human error is the single largest cause of workplace emergencies. Poor training, carelessness, misconduct, substance abuse, or fatigue can all contribute to human error. Everyone needs to know his/her role to play in an emergency situation. Employees need to know when to act and when not to act.

Every employee needs to understand the evacuation plan, alarm systems, reporting procedures, and types of potential emergencies. Discuss any special hazards, such as flammable materials, toxic chemicals, or water-reactive substances.

Training should address the following:

  • Individual roles and responsibilities;
  • Threats, hazards, and protective actions;
  • Notification, warning, and communication procedures;
  • Emergency response procedures;
  • Evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures;
  • Location and use of common emergency equipment; and
  • Emergency shutdown procedures.
  • First aid procedures
  • Fire extinguisher use

Finally, practice the plan. Frequently practicing what you intend to do during a disaster  through drills and exercises  will help you prepare!