OSEA Safety Blog

Emergency Preparedness On-Site

Thursday, September 15, 2016 Amanda Coniglio

Do your worker’s know what to do in case of an emergency on site? Will they react appropriately in case of an amputation, a heat illness, a head injury, severe weather? Emergency preparedness on the construction site is an important part of any site specific safety plan/ health and safety plan. This requires pre-planning and often times research of the area that your construction project will be taking place at to ensure that you have all the necessary information on local emergency services that are available to you and in support of your operations; it’s not a “check-the-block” deal.

Proper emergency preparedness helps to minimize human suffering and economic losses that can result from emergencies on site not being handled correctly. The size and complexity of construction projects, as well as their access and location, have a direct impact on the degree of planning necessary for emergencies.

The most important resource on most sites will the 911 system, but it is also important to know the facilities, or lack of, available in the vicinity of a project. Identify which resources are available and have contingency plans in place to make up for any deficiencies. Take into consideration the response time, and what site personnel must do in the moments between an incident and arrival of first responders; i.e. administer first aid, evacuate the area, etc.

The following are important components of your site-specific emergency preparedness plan:

  1. Familiarization with the entire site-layout;
  2. Identification of potential emergency situations on-site. Will hazards change regularly, gradually or stay the same over a period of time?
  3. Location of posted emergency phone numbers;
  4. Clearly outlined responsibilities during emergencies, this will ensure efficient response:
    1. Who is assigned to contact emergency personnel, first aid responders, fire brigades and cleanup teams?
    2. Who is assigned to talk to the media if they show up?

DISSIMENATE THE INFORMATION!!!!!! Ensure your workers are well aware of the contents of your plan to include where your on-site resources such as fire extinguishers, spills containment equipment, and first aid kits are located; communication methods; and names of all medically or first aid trained personnel. Once they have the information, PRACTICE the procedures!

Don’t forget to keep your emergency preparedness plans up-to-date! Keep in mind that due to the nature of work, construction sites are frequently fast-changing and thus pre-planning of emergency procedures must be done prior to the start of a project and then during different construction phases. Ensure you are updating your site-specific emergency procedures AT LEAST whenever there is a change in the operation, hazardous exposures, physical layout or if new employees begin work on-site.

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