As a safety professional, it is often best practice to always have a positive outlook on safety, but still prepare for the worst. Sometimes, the most unforeseen circumstances are the ones that are left unaccounted for. This brings us to this article’s topic, disaster management. Specifically, how it affects your workforce, including your third-party contractors.
When it comes to disaster management and contractor safety, it is important to account for every possible scenario that could put your workers and job site in jeopardy. Disaster management teams should ensure that contractors are provided with the necessary safety training to enact proper protocol when needed. For example, contractors should be familiar with evacuation routes in case of a fire. Disaster management is an important part of protecting people and property in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. It is especially crucial for contractors, who often face unique and dangerous risks when working onsite. To ensure contractor safety during disasters, it is important to have a well-developed disaster management plan that includes specific instructions and procedures. This should include guidelines on how to evacuate quickly and safely, how to contact emergency services, and how to access medical care if needed. It should also include guidelines on communication with workers during an emergency and detailed plans for responding to different types of disasters. Contractors should also be familiar with safety regulations and protocols related to their field. By taking the necessary steps to ensure contractor safety during disasters, companies can protect their workers and mitigate the risks associated with disaster management.
Disaster management is a complex topic. To simplify things, we’ll detail what common disasters organizations should prepare for, how to plan ahead, and what to do after a worksite disaster occurs.
More often than not, an emergency response is circulated around natural disasters. While incidents may very well occur by means of man-made disasters, these situations are addressed through workforce management. With that said, let’s dive into three of the most common natural disasters that your organization must plan for.
The simple and most vital way to ensure your workforce’s safety during a hurricane is simply to not work in one. If you know a hurricane will be occurring in your area. Ensure that all workers stay home until it is safe to return to the worksite. Upon returning, you must take certain precautions before entering the premises. Hurricanes may create hazards in the worksite such as debris, damage to large equipment, and flooding. You must enact the proper response to eliminate said hazards before making a full and operational return to the worksite.
Earthquakes, unlike hurricanes, are much less predictable. The unexpectant nature of earthquakes makes them a much harder hazard to address, and therefore requires a more comprehensive response plan. The first step in planning for an earthquake is by analyzing location. Ensure that workers are able to reach a safe location in the worksite that is not surrounded by unfinished structures, heavy/sharp equipment, or anything that could explode, catch fire, or fall. Furthermore, you should teach your workforce basic earthquake safety procedures such as the ‘drop, cover, and hold’ technique. Just like hurricanes, earthquakes will often leave an aftermath at the worksite that you must address before you permit your workers to enter again.
Even though fires are more commonly caused by humans, natural causes such as wildfires also have the potential to pose a risk to your job site. Either way, the consequences of workplace fire are dire, and require an immediate response. The first step in planning and managing the potential for a fire is to identify what hazards can create it. In any job site, the possibilities of objects, machinery, equipment, and electricity that can cause a fire are endless. As the hiring organization you need to complete due diligence by ensuring that your contractors and general workforce alike are fully educated and trained in fire safety.
How to Plan:
Disaster management is an important part of protecting people and property in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. It is especially crucial for contractors, who often face unique and dangerous risks when working onsite. To ensure contractor safety during disasters, it is important to have a well-developed disaster management plan that includes specific instructions and procedures. So what goes into a well thought out plan?
- Understanding the risks of unforeseen events and how each one can create a different effect.
- Building a comprehensive protocol prior to a disaster, not just when it happens.
- Training contractors and employees on how to conduct themselves safely in case of a natural disaster.
- Have a plan in place for how you will shut down your job site (machinery, equipment) prior to a predicted event such as a hurricane.
- Ensure that your workplace has implemented all required OSHA standards such as adequate ventilation, required PPE, and safety tools onsite such as fire extinguishers.
After a Disaster:
Almost every job site disaster will result in an aftermath that will require the immediate implementation of a solid emergency response. Depending on the nature of the event, natural disasters can leave worksites damaged and riddled with hazards such as floods, fallen equipment, broken machinery, chemical spills, and so on. This is why it is equally important for your emergency response plan to include details on how you can initiate a safe return to the workplace. Here is a three-step, foolproof plan to get started:
- Look at OSHA’s standards for emergency management.
- Contact emergency response teams and services to assist in aiding a safe return.
- Identify what damage at your worksite has resulted in hazards that you must address.
Disaster management is becoming increasingly important as natural disasters continue to occur around the world. In addition to protecting the public, disaster management also involves protecting the safety of contractors who are working in the area. Contractor safety is paramount during any disaster, and it is important for employers to provide proper training and equipment to ensure that contractors are safe. It is also important to have a clear plan in place for how to evacuate contractors quickly and safely in the event of an emergency. Finally, employers should create a communication system for contractors to receive updates on the situation and to report any safety issues. By taking these steps, employers can ensure that their contractors are safe and that their operations run smoothly during a disaster.
To build a steadfast workforce that can safely withstand a disaster, implement contractor management software and create a safe and compliant business that can better handle appropriate emergency response situations. Ready to transform your safety program for the better? Chat with one of our experts today.