SPOT THE SAFETY VIOLATION: Emergencies Are No Laughing Matter
In a fire or other emergency, is this sign’s advice really what you want workers to do?
Under the OHS laws, employers must plan for various workplace emergencies, including fires, explosions, serious safety incidents and extreme weather conditions, such as tornadoes and floods. The idea is that adequate emergency preparedness will ensure that workers know how to respond in an emergency and thus won’t panic.
In that context, this sign—while amusing—isn’t very useful. In fact, the last thing you want workers to do is “freak out and run like hell!”
Granted, this sign was posted in a liquor store, not exactly a safety sensitive environment. And the workers at the store acknowledged that the sign was intended to be humorous and didn’t actually represent their emergency procedures.
Although humor can be an effective tool in some cases, such as in safety training sessions, be careful that your use of comedy doesn’t dilute the seriousness of workplace safety procedures.
6 STEPS TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
To ensure that your workplace and staff are adequately prepared for a variety of emergencies, take these six steps:
Step #1: Conduct a risk assessment to identify the kinds of emergencies your workplace is likely to face (see, workplace emergency preparedness checklist).
Step #2: Develop appropriate safety practices and procedures to respond to the identified emergencies (here’s a model emergency response plan you can adapt).
Step #3: If you have disabled workers, make sure your emergency procedures take their needs and limitations into account.
Step #4: Train workers on your emergency preparedness procedures.
Visit the OHS Insider’s Emergency Preparedness & Response Compliance Centre for additional workplace emergency preparedness information, tools, articles and other resources, such as:
- 8 emergency preparedness and response tips
- A fire extinguisher inspection checklist
- Information on complying with the fire preparedness requirements in the OHS laws
- How to update fire safety plans for industrial workplaces or offices
- Why you should create a business continuity plan.