September is Emergency Preparedness Month, a time for homes and businesses to make sure they have the information, tools and systems in place to handle extreme events. The list of events the CDC and Homeland Security encourage folks to prepare for include natural disasters, mass casualties, radiation emergencies, biological and chemical threats, and terrorist attacks.
Events over the last decade have reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness – from the devastation of Katrina in New Orleans to the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. We have seen time and again how disasters on a large scale have the power to overwhelm local, state and even federal response capacity.
The time between an event and a governmental response can often be the difference between life and death, which is why families and businesses are encouraged to have a plan of action that bridges that gap. Of course, if we always knew in advance when disasters would occur and at what scale, disaster planning would be easy. Instead, we must think ahead of time of the various disasters we are vulnerable to and prepare accordingly.
Basically, emergency planning on a personal level boils down to three steps:
- Get a Kit
- Make a Plan
- Be Informed
To that end, here are two helpful websites with checklists and videos on getting ready:
For businesses, being prepared is not just a good idea, it’s the law. OSHA has a website dedicated to Emergency Preparedness and Response, with links to detailed information on the compliance obligations of employers in the face of emergencies.
Making sure all of your employees are on the same page in the event of an emergency is a difficult task. MSDSonline online safety training can help. We currently have four training modules that center on emergency and disaster preparedness, they are:
Emergency and Disaster Preparedness covers the common provisions of an employer's emergency response plan along with preparation and actions to follow in the event of an emergency including emergency response, safety, reporting, and evacuation of company facilities and work areas in the event of a natural disaster, fire, hazardous material spill, bomb threat, workplace violence, or other emergency.
Emergency Plan and Evacuation Procedures - Awareness/Refresher is a 25-minute course providing awareness level or refresher training on emergency planning and response, safety, reporting, and evacuation procedures of company facilities and work areas in the event of a fire, hazardous material spill, natural disaster, workplace violence, or bomb threat.
Emergency Response: Incidental Chemical Releases provides training to prepare workers for chemical releases and threats of release that are not specifically covered by the HAZWOPER standard. The course covers the basic information on acting safely when chemical releases and threatened releases require appropriate action, but are limited in quantity, exposure potential, or toxicity, and present minor safety or health hazards if handled properly. The coverage includes recognition of a release, risks associated with a release, and responsibilities in the event of a release.
Hazwoper 8-hour Refresher meets the annual refresher-training requirement for regular hazardous waste site workers and managers. The eight-hour course provides refresher coverage of material in the original 24 or 40 hour training course for hazardous waste operations and emergency response and includes the following ten modules: Site Safety and Health Plans and Procedures; Decontamination; Hazard Communication; Working in Extreme Temperatures; Fire and Explosion Safety; Emergency Response and Spill Control; PPE/Respiratory Protection; Site Control; Regulatory Overview and Toxicology. Students in this course must complete and pass all modules with a final “time-in-course” of 8 hours or more in order to meet the regulatory requirement for annual Hazwoper Refresher training. The course counts as 10 seats.
Call 1.888.362.2007, or visit Workplace Training for information about our on-demand training offering, including a list of available courses. If you’re interested in an option that does not require all employees to be present at the same time, you can take a pass on a classroom style format and consider an online solution.
- The MSDSonline Compliance Team-