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How Do You Alert Employees To An Emergency?

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Your plan must include a way to alert employees, including disabled workers, to evacuate or take other action, and how to report emergencies, as required. Among the steps you must take are the following:

Make sure alarms are distinctive and recognized by all employees as a signal to evacuate the work area or perform actions identified in your plan;

Make available an emergency communications system such as a public address system, portable radio unit, or other means to notify employees of the emergency and to contact local law enforcement, the fire department, and others; and

Stipulate that alarms must be able to be heard, seen, or otherwise perceived by everyone in the workplace. You might want to consider providing an auxiliary power supply in the event that electricity is shut off. (29 CFR 1910.165(b)(2) offers more information on alarms.)

Although it is not specifically required by OSHA, you also may want to consider the following:

Using tactile devices to alert employees who would not otherwise be able to recognize an audible or visual alarm; and

Providing an updated list of key personnel such as the plant manager or physician, in order of priority, to notify in the event of an emergency during off-duty hours.

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