How to Plan for and Prevent
Workplace Emergencies

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EDISON PARKER & ASSOCIATES INC. was founded in 1997 as a sales and marketing company for all mechanical replacement parts, as well as new replacement units, to large facilities such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, and large real estate... read more

How to Plan for and Prevent
Workplace Emergencies

It’s an ordinary day in the nursing home when suddenly, the fire alarms go off. There’s a smell of smoke in the air. What happens next? Do the employees quickly and efficiently follow the prepared plan of action that they’ve practiced in advance, or does mayhem erupt, with the unfortunate result of losses to life and assets?

What is a Workplace Emergency Plan
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Whether a business is faced with a tornado, a criminal attack or a chemical spill, their level of preparedness will affect the damages toll. The key is in the emergency plan that’s been prepared.

Some businesses are legally required to have an emergency plan set up. But every business owner wants to protect his facilities and workers from potential risks. By following the steps for putting together a plan that will explain how to deal with emergency situations in the workplace, the facility director can do his part to reduce the risks of workplace emergencies and undue damage.

How Does an Emergency Action Plan Benefit Your Workplace
Before writing up the official business emergency plan, a risk assessment should take place. The assessment checks for possible risks in a facility and how to deal with them. For example, a nursing home might find that because the building has a well-lit, open perimeter, their risk for a sudden violent intrusion is less. On the other hand, a facility with an industrial kitchen in the basement without industrial ventilation systems in good working order may find that their risk for a fire is high- and it’s important to address that before creating an emergency checklist for your workplace.
Prevention is key to reducing losses from workplace emergencies. Assessing your risks and making sure you’ve done everything possible to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place as part of your plan can have major positive effects if an emergency does happen. Every major facility, especially those in the healthcare or food preparation industries, should have adequate cooling systems in place to reduce heat and prevent fires. Commercial kitchen roof fans and commercial blowers may be necessary in your facility as well. As part of checking for risks, make sure your systems are in good condition.

You or an expert in risk assessment should check that you have enough emergency exit doors for commercial buildings, if applicable. Make sure the facility complies with ADA emergency exit requirements. Every exit door should be clearly marked with easy-to-follow signs and/or directions.
Notification systems for emergencies should be in good working order- smoke alarms and PA systems for announcements are examples. Fire extinguishers should be in good working order and the instructions should be easy to read. Any employee who might need Personal Protective Equipment in dealing with an emergency like a toxic spill should know where to find it.

Part of risk assessment is to determine who is likely to get harmed in an emergency. In a hospital, that might include vulnerable patients who aren’t ambulatory, and in a restaurant, it might be kitchen workers working with heat. While drawing up the plan, one of the factors to consider is how to help those most at risk effectively, and to prioritize saving lives, and only then assets.

Being prepared has a noticeable effect on the calmness of employees when an emergency does occur. Psychologically, it is much easier to deal with emergencies in the workplace when one knows what to do. The lower levels of stress allow for clearer heads in the tension, which leads to a further reduction of loss.

How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations
Now you’re ready to write up the plan. Each type of emergency will have a different course of action, and you’ll want to account for any that are likely to occur. In many cases, such as fires, floods, or explosions, an evacuation is in order.

Emergency plans can be most effective when employees are included in planning. Every employee should know when to evacuate, what their responsibilities are in evacuation, and where emergency equipment might be located. Education is a crucial step in knowing how to handle emergencies in the workplace.

In these training sessions, every employee should become aware of the emergency exits. They should know which emergency exit doors are closest to their workstations and the quickest route for them to get there. Also, those given specific tasks in case of emergency should complete their responsibilities.

As part of the plan, there should be an exact accounting of the people on the site at all times, and one employee should have the responsibility of making sure everyone is accounted for. Having emergency contact lists will be a part of the emergency plan as well.

The next step in the emergency preparedness plan for workplace template is practice and improvement. Your employees may have been educated in the evacuation procedures, but if they haven’t practiced their roles, they may forget what they’ve learned in the stress of the moment. This is where emergency drills for the workplace come in.

During every emergency drill, employees should act as if they are in actuality dealing with emergencies in the workplace. This way, it’s easy to gauge if there are any flaws in the plans and take steps to improve the emergency plan if necessary.

Emergencies and Evacuations with Vulnerable Populations
Nursing homes and hospitals are two examples of large facilities with vulnerable populations. In these facilities, it’s especially important to regularly ensure that all equipment is in working order and to have a functioning emergency preparedness plan in place.

Every healthcare facility must designate officers who will be in charge if and when a specific emergency occurs. This includes a fire safety officer, who will be in charge of fire safety procedures and evacuations. Employees should get the proper training and guidance to fulfill their tasks fully.

Healthcare facilities are at greater risk for fires. To put together the emergency fire plan for a healthcare facility, there’s a recommended acronym known as RACE.

  • R: Rescue any patients that are in danger. As mentioned, the first priority in an emergency is to minimize loss of life. If any patients are close to the origin of the fire, they should be moved or evacuated, if possible. This includes non-ambulatory patients, for whom there should be designated employees with the responsibility to help them get out safely.
  • A: Activate a fire alarm if you see a fire. Employees should be aware of their responsibility to notify others of a fire as soon as possible. Included in this is also immediate response if an employee hears an alarm.
  • C: Confine fires by closing off doors and hallways. This may be assigned to specific employees who do not immediately evacuate, but rather do their part to try to contain the fire before the fire department arrives. Closing doors and hallways is part of choking out oxygen for the fire.
  • E: Extinguish small fires. Also a task that may be designated for certain employees, these employees should know that their responsibility only extends to small fires. If the fire is a major one, they should simply evacuate and leave the extinguishing to the firefighters.

Another emergency that healthcare facilities must be prepared for is that of toxic materials either exploding, spilling, or otherwise creating a harmful environment. Safety regulations and procedures should be followed to prevent this occurrence, and a hazards officer should be appointed to create the specific plan for such an emergency.

Preparation and Prevention of Emergencies with Edison Parker
Part of emergency preparedness is the installation of safety systems. Every large facility, especially those in the healthcare industry, should have ventilation systems in place for proper air circulation. In hospitals, cooling systems can keep the air clean to prevent the spread of germs, aside for regulating the temperature as necessary.

Beyond installation, it’s also important to invest in commercial facility maintenance. Hiring a company like Edison Parker, which specializes in commercial and industrial building maintenance, is strongly recommended for large buildings. Edison Parker’s years in the industry supports this recommendation: Most workplace emergency service calls that come in could have been prevented with regular service of the systems. Hiring a company like Edison Parker, with over 25 years of experience servicing commercial, xxx

A yearly checkup will take care of any commercial furnace repair, commercial boiler repair, and/or commercial plumbing repair that is necessary. This way, emergencies will be less likely to come up and cause damage in commercial equipment.

Whether you need to purchase new or replacement commercial systems or you’re in need of time-sensitive mechanical repair in NY and NJ, Edison Parker is here to help. Whether it’s a cooling tower repair or a heat pump replacement, keep your facility safe at all times with fast and efficient repair service. We are available 24 hours a day to respond to emergency calls for commercial repair service for your business, so feel free to call for that middle-of-the-night cooling tower leak repair or sewage pump repair that can’t wait till the morning. We’ll make it our business to assist you immediately.

Having an extra layer of protection helps to reduce risks for emergencies. One way to do this is by installing backup systems in case of failure of commercial systems. With so many people in an industrial facility relying on smooth operating systems, it’s critical to be prepared in case of a cooling system malfunction or other problems. Edison Parker can help your facility achieve full protection with emergency system installations, from fire sprinklers to other commercial emergency equipment.

Aside from prompt commercial repair service and installation backup, Edison Parker offers a full line of new commercial appliance options. From commercial building roof fans to heat pumps and blowers, get all your commercial cooling equipment in one place. Every appliance is integrated into a smoothly working system, and customers are assured of quality maintenance and service as well. We stand behind our products with warranties.

Prepare for emergencies with Edison Parker’s expert help.

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