“Be Prepared” – In The Workplace

The Northern California Loma Prieta earthquake happened at the end of the workday, but what if it had occurred right in the middle your 10:00 meeting in the conference room?

Being prepared in the workplace is one of the three corner stones of being prepared.  If you are prepared at home, in school and the workplace, you will be prepared for most anywhere. Just as in the home and school, first responders (Fire, Law Enforcement, Medical Services, Public Works) may not be able to respond.  Knowing what your business is doing will help ensure your and your families ability to be as prepared as possible.

The International Risk Management Institute has studied the effects of earthquakes on businesses and have found “economic losses from the Northridge and Kobe earthquakes each exceeded the economic losses associated with the World Trade Center disaster. Life losses due to the September 11 attacks have been greatly exceeded by many … “including each of the 1985 Mexico City, 1988 Armenia, and 1999 Izmit earthquakes.” According to OSHA, “the primary dangers to workers result from: being struck by structural components or furnishings, inadequately secured stored materials, burns, gas leaks or electrical shorts, or exposure to chemicals released from stored or process chemicals.” In the workplace there are three things you can do… Plan, Equip, and Train:

  • Plan (Safe Zones, Processes, Account)
    • Identify and know your safe zones, refuge points and assembly areas.
    • Know how to safely shut down your workplace, factory floor and processes.
    • Understand how to account for co-workers and staff.
  • Equip (The building, property and staff)
    • Build personal, department and company earthquake kits.
    • Implement mitigation measures to protect equipment and furniture.
    • Provide staff personal protective and emergency equipment.
  • Train (Reach out and find what your neighbors are doing)
    • Train on assessment of the workplace following an earthquake.
    • Participate in, or start, regular Safety Meetings.
    • Conduct regular earthquake exercises.

Being prepared for an earthquake is the responsibility of each one of us – you are critical to community resilience! Join us as we continue the “Be Prepared” theme:

  • January 27th “Be Prepared” A Compendium Of Available Resources.

Thursday January 26th, 2017 is the 317th anniversary of the last Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake.  In recognition of this, and to increase earthquake awareness, City of Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville has proclaimed January 26th as “Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Awareness Day

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