October, 2011

Workplace Emergencies: Are You Prepared?

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. For this reason, it is important to have someone who knows first aid. First aid can be either simple treatments for minor injuries, or initial care provided before emergency medical treatment is available.

OSHA says…
The OSHA regulation for medical services and first aid, which is found in 29 CFR 1926.50, says that employers must be able to provide prompt care for life-threatening emergencies — such as stoppage of breathing and severe bleeding — when an infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician is not reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite. In other words, employers have an obligation to provide first aid equipment, training, and personnel when a hospital or other outside emergency response is not close enough to provide help within three to four minutes. In addition, OSHA expects employers to make provisions for prompt medical attention prior to beginning work at a site.

First Aid Provider
If you are required to have first aid providers, those employees must be trained and designated to respond to emergencies at your worksite. To be in compliance, the employee must have a valid certificate in first-aid that can be verified by documentary evidence, and must be available at the worksite to render first aid. However, even if OSHA does not require you to have designated first aid responders, it is best practice to:
First Aid Kits

As for first aid supplies, employers must provide an easily accessible, weatherproof first aid kit. This first aid kit must be checked before going out to the jobsite and at least weekly to ensure supplies are replaced as used. (The Utah Safety Council sells first aid kits that exceed OSHA and ANSI standards for only $45.)
In addition, the telephone numbers of your company physician, hospital, and ambulance service must be posted in plain view. And, your company must provide transportation of an injured person to a physician or hospital if ambulance service is not available.

Remember…
In emergency situations, first aid that is given promptly and properly can make the difference between life and death, rapid and prolonged recovery, or temporary and permanent disability. Employees need to know where first aid kits are and be trained before an incident occurs. Also, they must understand and follow the universal precautions when dealing with blood.
Become a certified First Aid Instructor for your organization. Register for the First Aid Instructor Course held on July 19-21, 2011. For more information contact Brandee, Training and Development Specialist at 801.746.SAFE (7233) ext. 307.

The Utah Safety Council First Aid Programs meet the 2010 CPR and ECC Guidelines and OSHA standards for first aid in the workplace.

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Course 101: What to do in an emergency?

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and they can be devastating. The impact on roadways, power stations, water plants, and water sewage treatment plants can turn the “normal routine” upside down for hours, days, even months and years. Having fires with no water to fight them or local EMTs so swamped that there are no professionally trained people to assist in an emergency is no laughing matter.

Emergencies happen without warning. There is no time to think. Whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake (44 of the 50 states are earthquake prone) or severe weather, or a man made disaster caused by equipment failure, such as a power outage, it is important to be prepared. By thinking, planning, and preparing ahead of time, one is able to respond quickly and calmly. The benefits of being prepared are numerous: lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and property damages are reduced. It is easier to “bounce back” from an emergency. Lets review some basics to emergency response for various disasters.

How one responds vary depending on the type of emergency. A medical emergency is the most common. Getting proper first aid training helps one determine how to quickly assess a situation calmly and with control. It also reduces the fear that often comes up when one is in an unfamiliar situation. First and foremost always keep yourself safe. People are the number one priority. Be prepared to assist others as to the location and type of emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 may be all you can do.

For weather emergencies, stay out of harms way by seeking shelter. Stay inside and clear of falling debris. “Duck, cover and hold” may be apropos. That is, seek safety underneath a table or sturdy object, cover your head, and stay put until the situation becomes safe. Stay alert for aftershocks in an earthquake situation. The impact of tornados may have created an unsafe situation so care is to be taken. Be sure to secure equipment to prevent any possible lateral movement or having equipment tip over. Shut off main valves, such as gas lines to prevent leaks.

If there is a fire, notify personnel, shut down equipment and leave or evacuate the area safely. Use and knowledge of fire suppression equipment is critical. Check for broken connectors after shutting off main valves. Check with a flashlight, do not use a match. It is important to have a designated meeting area to re-assess the situation and determine if everyone is safe and what might need to be communicated to emergency personnel.

If a chemical spill happens, stop and think. Is it hazardous? Do I know what to do? Do I have the proper equipment? Am I trained? Is this a danger to you or the facility? Do not try to clean it up, but instead, rope it off and let properly trained professional personnel clean up the spill. Again, the first rule of safety is keeping yourself and others clear of potential dangers.

Keep food and water storage, first aid kit, tool supplies, sanitation, flashlight and batteries and other emergency preparedness materials in a place that is easily accessible. Utilize water supplies such as water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, when needed in an emergency. Pre-emergency drills go a long way to instill calm and focus. Remember it is not uncommon to be isolated from your loved ones during an emergency. Being separated due to work and proximity constraints happens often. Now is the time to practice and get prepared.

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ARE you Prepared?

Recently I was on the www.fema.gov website. There continues to be a growing concern in the U.S. about what is happening with the economy, natural disasters, and world events, including terrorism. I noticed the website had a map listing out the recently declared disaster areas in America. Most of those listed, whether it was in North Dakota or Texas, I was not familiar with. Are you?

Families and businesses are beginning to wake up to the importance of being prepared for potential situations, which will lend them powerless and unable to secure their long-term food, and water needs. Most people are vulnerable to outside influences and have not made an investment in preparing for a disaster. Given that no amount of money can keep someone alive in a crisis, long term water and food storage may be the most important investment we can make.

The food and water systems we have created in our local communities are designed to support our basic day-to-day needs. It is estimated there is less than a three-week supply of food in the national food distribution network. Grocery stores keep about a one-week supply of food in their stores. Most households have even less food readily available. A serious emergency could easily cause breakdowns in the supply of essential goods and services. The non-existent food reserves coupled with a water supply that could get easily contaminated would spell disaster for millions. Are you prepared?

Most survival experts suggest a minimum three-month supply of storable food and water per person. A wise person once said it is better to buy two years early rather than a day late. Still undecided? Personally, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. How about you? There are a variety of people readily available to lend you assistance. Contact us atwww.marksbarrelcompany.com and let us help.

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