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Four elements of an effective emergency drill that'll protect your business

by , 03 May 2013
Do you remember the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in April 2010? BP wasn't prepared for this obvious emergency and it cost them 11 lives and $14 billion. Bringing it closer to home, is your business prepared for an emergency? An emergency drill should be done at least once every six months. If a fire broke out in your workplace right now, would you and your employees be ready for it?

Here are four elements of an effective emergency drill.

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Four elements of an effective emergency drill that'll protect your business
  1. Prepare for emergencies – Joe's company had just moved into a new building that doesn't have safety signs put up yet. The circuit breaker caught fire and caused a short circuit throughout the building. One of Joe's employees was mildly shocked by electricity. Everyone got out of the building safely even though there were no safety signs to follow. All employees were prepared because they'd done a fire drill in their previous building. If your workplace was in the same situation would you be prepared for this simple emergency?

  1. Regular risk assessment – Risk assessments help you find potential risks and manage them to ensure they don't harm your employees or property. Many businesses do a risk assessment to protect their business from the law and avoid fines! But it should also help protect your business from potential hazards. Did you miss anything in your last risk assessment?
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  1. Realistic drills – Realistic drills may be a good opportunity to identify key issues in your workplace. Can your employees follow the safety signage correctly without causing confusion? One thing out of place will cost your business thousands of rands in damages and even the lives of your employees! Can you risk it?

  1. Evaluate the drill – How you evaluate your emergency drill will determine how effective your team is when a real emergency happens. How well did your drill work? What would be the next step, if this was a real disaster? Many businesses get this part so wrong because they leave everything up to one person to fix! Where have you gone wrong in the past and what did you do about it?

To encourage safety in the workplace, regular emergency drills should be done to ensure employees are prepared and that nothing goes wrong during a real event! Planning is just one way to do it. You'll find three others on page F02/005 of the First aider responsibility in the Health and Safety Training Manual! If you don't have the Health and Safety Training Manual, you can get it here.


Best regards,
MM
Miriro Matema
Product Manager – Health and Safety Training Manual

P.S. Are you ready to receive easy-to-use health and safety training modules that covers all required health and safety training? Get your five health and safety training modules

PP.S. Oops! We made a mistake! In last week's bulletin 'Four health and safety obligations you must implement' I stated that the requirement is to have one HSE rep for every 20 employees in the workplace but that's not all.

Section 17 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993), employers who employ 20 or more workers must appoint representatives to monitor health and safety. Section 17 (5) Shops and offices must have at least 1 representative for every 100 workers or part thereof. All other workplaces must have at least 1 representative for every 50 workers.

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