An emergency creates a huge risk to life, property, health, and the environment. Some workplace emergencies are particular to the industries and work environments, while others are global.
Most common emergencies include earthquakes, fire explosions, major power failure, etc. Therefore, preparing for emergencies is a legal requirement and a crucial element of workplace safety and health programs.
Steps of Emergency Management
Emergency management is about managing potential risks to the environment and communities. Here we will discuss different phases of emergency management:
The first phase of emergency management is prevention or mitigation. It includes all the activities that prevent emergencies in the future and lower their effects.
Prevention is taken into account long before the emergency. It might include buying insurance policies, alteration to the existing assets, infrastructure, and company operations to lower the effect of a potential crisis, and more.
Creating multiple back-ups of important data stored on company servers, reinforcing buildings in the regions that are more prone to natural disasters are the common examples of the prevention phase. The great way to prepare for the crisis and prevent damage as much as possible is to have a proper workplace emergency plan in place.
As per Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, an emergency plan includes written instructions that guide the personnel on what to do if there is an emergency in the workplace. Your emergency response program must look at minute details and the big picture to evaluate the potential risks.
Once the emergency unfolds, plenty of decisions are to be made in a short period. The preparedness phase incorporates building plans created to cope with emergencies successfully – what to do, where to visit, or whom to call for assistance.
For example, stocking food, posting emergency phone numbers, installing smoke detectors, building a supply list useful during the crisis, crafting evacuation plans, excursing plans via full-scale exercises, drills, or tabletop exercises.
Preparedness typically consists of three elements. They include creating emergency response plans, training on plans and possible crises, and practicing putting plans into effect. Preparedness activities occur before the workplace emergency strikes.
Safety in any workplace emergency relies on how prepared you are and how quickly you respond to it. The response phase includes putting plans into action to save lives and prevent further damage.
Safely conducting search and rescue operations to ensure employees stay away from the fire, masking yourself undercover and holding tight in an earthquake, seeking medical care, etc., are all examples of a safe response. Response activities occur during an emergency and are typically measured in days, hours, or weeks.
Remember, when the life-threatening chemicals are involved, replying even a few minutes faster could help you save the life of many people and reduce recovery costs. To ensure an effective response from your staff and employees, it is vital to consider emergency training of your employees.
Recovery is an essential phase of emergency management. It includes taking actions that help to come back to the normal situation after an emergency. It can also incorporate getting financial assistance to pay for the repairs.
Recovery activities usually occur after a workplace emergency and are usually measured in months or years. Actions like debris clean-up, repairing important infrastructure, rebuilding the ruined property, restoring essential services, and re-employment come under the recovery phase.
Short-term recovery includes meeting the community’s needs like emergency counseling, the rule of law, etc. Once proper stability is accomplished, long-term recovery efforts are taken. It mainly focuses on facilities of community, restoring economic activity, etc.
Workplace emergencies can happen at any time without warning. They can take plenty of forms but usually fall into three categories – work-related, external, and natural. They may result in the financial collapse of an organization and loss of personnel.
So as a business owner, you can prepare yourself and your employees. Successful businesses are the ones that take threats seriously and craft an actionable safety plan to cope with them.
It’s best to specify the role of every employee during the crisis and ensure all get emergency response training. When the team members are mentally and physically prepared to respond to an emergency, it will certainly help you prevent possible risks to you and your business to a great extent.