Pat Brownlee, a guest writer over at Blog4Safety.com, posted an article titled “Avoiding Cubicle Disasters” in which the idea was tossed around about having an appointed company safety leader.
Now, when you work at a steel production plant, and tons and tons of molten lava-like iron are being smelted, the possibility of a fire or other dangerous situation is an obvious daily hazard. Surely, a place like that will have a safety leader or, perhaps, ten of them.
On the other hand, if you happen to work in an office, you might think that the largest threat posed to you is the vending machine falling over, or someone burning the coffee in the breakroom. Although you might be right, it is necessary to have a safety plan in place, and to appoint someone within your organization who remains cool under stress, and who would have the leadership abilities to herd a bunch of confused people to safer waters. According to Brownlee, it is important to have the following:
a procedure for reporting emergencies
have an emergency action plan in place
designate a clear chain of command.
When an emergency happens, there has to be protocols in place for the emergency to be reported. It’s important that emergency services, like the fire department be tops on the list of the reporting procedure, and it’s also important that the situation details be reported to the safety leader and an alarm or other notifying signal be trasmitted so everyone at the plant or office can be apprised that there is a situation.
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Once things are appropriately signaled, your organization should enact its plan for what everyone should do in case of an emergency. This might mean shutting off equipment, closing doors or curtains, having all employees meet at a specific meeting place, or anything else that might make things safer for workers and the facility.
The last one in the list is very important. Without a company-designated chain of command, an emergency can be exacerbated by several people trying to lead people in different directions. There is a reason to have leaders – it makes things more efficient. Have people stick to the safety leaders’ direction. It may save a life.