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When Disaster strikes... are you prepared?

by , 25 March 2013
'The cruise from hell',That's how people described the sinking of the luxury ship, Costa Concordia last year January on Friday the 13th.

A South African couple, celebrating their birthdays on the cruise, jumped four storeys to safety when the ship ran aground off the Italian Coast. At least a hundred more jumped into the cold water, risking broken limbs and hypothermia.

So lets's just look back at what went wrong?

The owner of the luxury liner said its captain made 'errors in judgment' and hadn't followed company procedures in his management of the emergency.
What can you learn from this devastating event?
Be prepared! You must know what emergencies could arise so you're prepared to deal with them.
Are you prepared for an emergency evacuation?
Emergency evacuation planning is essential in preventing injuries and ensuring the safety of your employees in emergency situations.

Can you imagine what would happen if a fire extinguisher isn't working when there's a fire, or an emergency door is locked when there's an actual emergency?
Possible emergency situations
Don't be naïve! There are several emergency situations that can arise:
•    Flooding;
•    Civil unrest;
•    The collapse of a structure or trench;
•    A bomb threat;
•    A hostage situation;
•    A chemical substance spillage or toxic gas releases;
•    A fire, etc.
It's your duty to identify all possible emergency situations, prepare for dealing with emergencies and to make sure all employees know what to do by:
•    Providing clear instructions and information;
•    Holding regular practice drills;
•    Conducting regular inspections of emergency equipment and escape routes;
•    Training all staff in emergency procedures.
(OHS Act Section 8, Duty of the Employer to create and maintain a healthy and safe workplace)
Prepare for emergencies
Emergencies can be divided into two main phases, followed by an emergency recovery phase. The two main phases are: preparing for an emergency, and what to do when the emergency actually happens.
To find out more, you'll have to read the chapter on 'Emergency Evacuation' in the Health and Safety Advisor. If you're not a subscriber, what are you waiting for? Click here to place your order.
The Health and Safety Advisor also has other chapters to help you ensure you're 100% prepared for emergency situations.
The chapter on 'Emergency Equipment' will help you organise emergency procedures using the correct emergency equipment because we know emergencies can be extremely disruptive to production and other aspects of your business.
This chapter tackles the following sections:
•    Are you prepared for these 6 possible emergencies:
o    Natural disasters (fire, flood, earthquake);
o    Labour disruptions (strike, riot, civil and industrial unrest);
o    Disruption of essential services, supplies or communications;
o    Emergencies associated with terrorist activities (explosions, bomb threats, armed attack);
o    Serious accidents or illness;
o    Any other event which may constitute an emergency e.g. plane crash, major chemical spill.
•    4 must-haves for your emergency-preparedness plan;
•    Establish an emergency control centre to effectively deal with all emergencies;
•    5 people to include in your emergency team;
•    Checklist: do you have the following emergency equipment available?
To maintain a safe workplace, we've also included a chapter on 'Emergency preparedness and response plan' where we'll help you create an emergency preparedness and response plan for your company in 9 easy steps.
So don't wait for your company to sink like the Titanic on the next Friday the 13th. Get your Health and Safety Advisor today!
Until next time.
Take care,

Kerusha Narothan
Managing Editor: Health and Safety Training Manual

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