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Business Safety and Preparedness Resources


 


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Safety and preparedness should be considered an investment in your business and employees. When making the case for why your business should invest time, effort and resources toward safety and disaster preparedness consider:

  • Six million workers suffer non-fatal workplace injuries at an annual cost to U.S. businesses of more than $125 billion according to OSHA.
  • Economists calculate that every dollar spent on preparing for a disaster saves seven dollars in response.
 

Taking it Home logoEmployees that worry less about their own safety and that of their loved ones make for more productive workers.

Taking it Home will help your employees prepare for disasters at home and in doing so, be able to return to work sooner. These activities also reinforce the monthly safety messages promoted at the workplace.

 

 


Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Extreme Heat


Employee Safety is critical to the success of your business. As the summer temperatures heat up, ensure your employees are alert to summer-time health concerns. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:

Heat Exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting arrow pointing down

Heat Stroke:

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)*
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

arrow pointing down

What You Should Do:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

What You Should Do:

  • Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.
 

Taking it Home


Grilling Safety. We talked about this topic last month, but it bears repeating since so many of us enjoy outdoor grilling during the summer months. We urge you to watch the YouTube video from ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Hannah Storm, as she shares about her 2012 grilling accident and recovery.


Be safe this summer - whether you have grilled many times, or if this is your first time, carefully read the safety instructions that came with your grill. Also, place a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure that you and your loved ones know how to properly use it.

Resources:
Grilling Safety Tips (PDF)
Fire Safety (PDF)
Using a Fire Extinguisher (Video)


Prepare in a Year
- Topic of the Month:
Under the Bed Items - Activity #7

Getting Ready - Topic of the Month:
Structural Mitigation - Activity #6


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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Wildland Fire and Drought


Did you know? In Washington, 85 percent of wildfires are human-caused (DNR). Whether your business is in a rural area or an urban area - fire is a potential risk. Mitigate your fire risk by carrying out these simple steps:


Outside: Increasing temperatures and drying vegetation can create a hazardous environment. Begin in June to prepare for the fire season by conducting a 'clean up' and removing combustible items from near buildings and ensure the proper storage of these items. Prevent debris from building up on the grounds by trimming vegetation, clearing leaves and removing other debris.


Inside: Check inside your building for potential hazards such as flammable or combustible materials and secure the items properly. Train your employees on the proper use of a fire extinguisher and conduct fire drills during this month.


Employee Safety: In addition to fire, the summer can increase the danger of extreme heat in the work environment. Heat can cause illness and even death. Review with employees the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and the First Aid steps for treatment.


Resources:
Report a Forest Fire: 800.562.6010
Heat Illness and Treatment (CDC NIOSH)

Using a Fire Extinguisher
(Video)
Conduct a Fire Drill-Emergency Drill Reporting Form
Flammable and Combustible Materials (OSHA)
Fire Danger in Your County (DNR)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Introduction to Incident Meteorologists (NWS - Seattle) (Video)


     


Taking it Home


Going to fire up a grill? Be alert - during the period between 2006 - 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,300 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues. Of these fires, 28 percent started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and another 28 percent started on an exterior balcony or open porch. (NFPA).


Practice fire safety and ensure that you and your loved ones know how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Resources:
Fire Safety (PDF)
Using a Fire Extinguisher (Video)

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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Volcano Awareness Month / Shelter-in-Place


In May 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted creating havoc in many communities and sending ash clouds across our state. Scientist agree that Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range are capable of future eruptions.


Shelter-in-Place may be required if evacuation is not possible in the event of a volcanic eruption.
Shelter-in-Place may also be a protective action during a hazardous materials incident. Train your employees to shelter-in-place before an incident to ensure they quickly move to a safe place and take the appropriate actions.

Resources:
      Preparing to Stay or Go (OSHA)
      Shelter-in-Place Business Guide - NICS (PDF)
      Shelter-in-Place at home, school and work (Flash video)
      Volcano Activity and Alerts (USGS)
     


Shelter-in-Place at Home


You may need to shelter-in-place at your home due to ashfall from a volcanic eruption or toxic fumes from a hazardous materials incident.

Prepare a "safe room" in your home - this is a room that can be quickly and easily sealed to protect those inside from ash and other airborne agents.


Resources:
       Action Plan - What to Do (see page 2) (PDF)
      Shelter-in-Place at Home (PDF)
      Shelter-in-Place at home, school and work (Flash video)

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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Test Your Plan


"Well developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage." (OSHA)

 

Resources:
      Emergency Action Plan (OSHA)
      Great Washington ShakeOut registration site


At home, it is just as important to test your emergency plans to ensure each household member acts quickly and safely. Further, if you are separated from your loved ones when disasters strike, you will immediately wonder how and where they are. Test your emergency plans:

  • Does each household member know what to do if an earthquake or other disaster occurs?
  • If separated, does everyone know who to call and what information they should provide to the out-of-area contact?
  • Does everyone know how to send a text message in case phone or cell service is down?


Resources:
      Personal and Family Action Plan (PDF)
      Out of Area Contact Card (PDF)


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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Water - Essential for Survival


Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. During a disaster, it is possible that you may need to shelter at your place of business for an extended period.


Ensure the welfare and safety of your employees and customers by storing a supply of clean drinking water. The minimum amount of water required is one gallon per person per day - for a minimum of three days. Take the time during the month of March to store this essential supply of water.

 

Resources:
      Safely Storing and Purify Water (PDF)
      Great Washington ShakeOut registration site


Water is essential for survival. After a disaster or extended power outage it may be necessary to have a supply of clean drinking water available for you and your loved ones. Learn how much you need, how to safely store it, and how to treat water of questionable purity.


In addition, take time this month to secure your water heater. This can be a valuable source of extra water after a disaster.

Resources:
      Safely Storing Water (PDF)
      Turning Off Residential Water (Video)
      Draining Your Water Heater (Video)
      Secure Your Water Heater (PDF)
      Secure Your Water Heater (Video)
      Great Washington ShakeOut registration site

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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Minimize Risk

Washington is earthquake country. Imagine the impact an earthquake could have on your business and your employees. Is your business prepared for such an event?


Minimizing hazards in the workplace will not only reduce the risk of injuries and loss of life for employees and customers, but also help guarantee your level of continued service by reducing down time.

During the month of February identify potential dangers in your workplace and take action to remedy the hazards you find.  

Resources:
      Office Preparedness - Non-Structural Mitigation
      How-to Preparedness Videos


Imagine trying to move through your house to check on your loved ones after an earthquake - what hazards would you encounter?

The most common personal injury resulting from an earthquake is cut feet. Broken glass from picture frames, mirrors, or other glass objects can cause serious injury, and even death. A simple fix: secure your wall hangings and other items to reduce this risk. Also, keep a pair of sturdy, well-fitting shoes near your bed in case you have to flee in a hurry. It is simple, easy and inexpensive.


Prepare in a Year
is an innovative and simple approach to disaster preparedness. You simply choose one hour each month and complete the designated activity. You can start any time of the year, but why not make disaster preparedness a part of your New Year's commitment.

Resources:
      Getting Ready - Home Preparedness Overview
      Getting Ready - Secure Wall Hangings - Activity #1
      How-to Preparedness Videos

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Safe at Work Monthly Topic
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Starting the New Year with Preparedness Action

The Small Business Administration suggests that an emergency plan is as important as your business plan. An emergency plan may make the difference between being shut down for a few days, and losing your livelihood.      

The purpose of an Emergency Action Plan "is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies" (OSHA). The new year is a great time to review or develop your emergency action plans.

Resources:
      Develop / Review Emergency Action Plans (OSHA)


We often think "it won't happen here", but as we have seen in recent years disasters such as floods, severe winter storms, and extended power outages do occur across our state. We must accept this fact and take the responsibility to prepare our loved ones, homes and neighborhoods.

Prepare in a Year is an innovative and simple approach to disaster preparedness. You simply choose one hour each month and complete the designated activity. You can start any time of the year, but why not make disaster preparedness a part of your New Year's commitment.

Resources:
      Prepare in a Year Overview (PIY)
      PIY - Develop an Action Plan - Month #1

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© Copyright 2014 Washington Military Department - Emergency Management Division