There’s a lot of talk these days about global warming, melting glaciers and the rising levels of the oceans, and almost every scientist has a different opinion about climate change and its effects. One thing we know for certain: at some point during almost every construction project, you’ll have to deal with severe weather. Because you could experience torrential rainfalls, hail storms, high winds or even a tornado, OSHA requires every company to have an emergency action plan on all jobsites where it schedules work for more than a few days.
Here are the elements that you should include in your emergency action plan, as required by OSHA specification 29 CFR 1926.35.
Emergency evacuation plan
Routinely explain your plan to everyone on the construction site, and clearly state the conditions that require evacuation. Employees should know their escape route assignments before an emergency occurs.
Do not simply abandon exposed electrical circuits or running machines. Account for these operations in your plan; give instructions on what to do; and provide the time you need to shut down safely.
Account for every employee
Appoint one or more individuals to make sure that every worker has left the jobsite if you need to evacuate. Appoint someone at the designated meeting place to account for everyone.
Rescue and medical duties
Make sure site supervisors know the location of medical supplies and the emergency numbers. Train supervisors to know what to do in situations requiring rescue services.
Reporting emergency situations
Communication is critical in an emergency. Your emergency action plan should outline procedures for communicating with employees about what’s happening and the actions they need to take.
Company representative(s) responsible for the plan
Clearly state in your plan who is responsible for each aspect of the plan, and train those individuals to carry out their jobs efficiently.
We cannot control the weather or predict every unsafe condition, but having an emergency action plan in place will help us respond to these conditions safely.