As technology progresses, new equipment is introduced, and procedures change and adapt, it has never been more crucial for businesses to design a tailored emergency response plan to deploy rapidly in the case of an emergency. This is especially important in businesses where hazardous materials and heavy machinery increase the risk level for employees, contractors, and clients every day.
According to the 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there have been over 340 fatal injuries and 395,300 non-fatal injuries—in the manufacturing industry. Protecting your employees and assets is crucial, and you can do so with a tailored emergency response plan that is designed to protect your business against industry-specific risks.
When improving your emergency response plan, it is always recommended to start with a thorough risk assessment. To conduct such an evaluation in your workplace, you should:
Start with Hazard Identification
Identify and record the risks that your employees, contractors, and clients might run when in your business. These might relate to hazardous substances and heavy machinery used in the manufacturing process, but they also refer to natural disasters and human-caused hazards.
Proceed with a Vulnerability Assessment
During this stage, you will consider how your company’s material and immaterial assets will be affected in the case of an emergency. You might consider damages to people and things, as well as supply chain interruptions and damages to your company’s reputation.
Complete an Impact Analysis
This step gives you an understanding of the damages your company would encounter in the case of an emergency, or disaster.
These three steps to a comprehensive risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) are indicated by ready.gov, and they can help you better understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses. From here, you can start designing an emergency response plan.
Emergency Response Plan
Once you are clear on your manufacturing company’s hazards and risks, you should start designing an appropriate emergency response plan. Some of the aspects to cover in your plan are:
In the case of a natural disaster, chemical spill, gas leaks, fire, or flood, the first thing you need to do is to make sure everyone in the facility has an exit nearby. An evacuation plan needs to be coupled with comprehensive training, it also includes clearly marked exit routes and designed meeting points.
Designed Shelter or Shelter-In-Place
If the threat comes from outside the building (like a tornado), you will need to have designated places in the building that can act as a shelter for employees.
If there is an on-site threat or hazard in the proximity of your company’s building, you instruct your employees to lock themselves inside the building and block entries and access to it from the outside.
When designing such a detailed emergency plan, it is essential to communicate when each procedure should be introduced, and what safety instructions accompany it.
During an emergency in the workplace, a response plan can not be initiated without proper communication. When new employees are hired, it’s good protocol to address emergency plans during a training meeting so they are aware of their responsibilities and procedures for safely evacuating.
Educated and Trained Employees
When you are designing the emergency response plan for your company, the testing phase is crucial for seamless future response.. Better to test it through drills, evaluate the results, modify it as required, and test it again before a true emergency situation occurs.
Once the emergency response plan is satisfactory, you will need to instruct your employees in safety training sessions. Ensuring that the plan is readily available to all of your employees. Ensuring that the emergency response plan is practiced several times through real-life scenarios drills can help you keep everybody in the building safe during a real emergency.
Technology to Help
While technology requires updates, it is the innovation behind more effective strategies and communication. Some technological solutions include mass notification systems (to streamline communication in case of an emergency) and mobile panic button apps (to get in touch with 911 in seconds).
Additionally, strategies like visual analytics can help you keep an eye on the functioning of all of your systems, machinery, and supply chain efficiency. In the case of an emergency, these systems can help you streamline the communication process and better understand the causes of incidents.
Improving your manufacturing company’s emergency response plan is much more than just another director’s duty. It is the way to keep all of your employees safe in the case of an emergency, protect your supply chain efficiency, and safeguard the reputation of your business.