Tornadoes definitely aren’t the norm in New England, but as recent severe weather events have proved, it can happen here just as easily as anywhere else. The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down in eastern Connecticut, cutting a path about 11 miles long and 100 yards wide through Andover, Coventry, and Mansfield on July 10, 2013. It was the fourth tornado in nine days.
Source: npclark2k via morgueFile
Fortunately, there were no injuries, NBC Connecticut confirmed. But the tornado, which caught the New Englanders off guard, left a good bit of damage behind, serving as a valuable reminder of the importance of preparedness no matter what region you live in.
Storm safety procedures should be incorporated into all company and organization emergency action plans. Below are some examples of storm safety steps that could be incorporated into plans in order to ensure the safety of employees during severe weather conditions.
- Make sure everyone knows the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. A warning, as described by OSHA, means “severe weather is present, there is imminent danger for people in the warning area.” When a warning is issued, everyone should take cover immediately.
- Use a special weather radio, such as a NOAA all-hazard radio, to stay aware of watches and warnings issued for your area when severe weather has been predicted.
- Designate tornado shelters in your building and make sure they are posted in very visible locations, such as with the fire escape routes. Tornado shelters should be away from outside walls, glass windows and doors. Ideal locations are basements, enclosed areas in the middle of the building, or interior stairwells.
- If your employees travel, include plans for what to do if they are driving when severe weather hits. Employees should ideally get off the road and seek shelter inside a sturdy building. However, they can take cover by laying face-down on low ground if they are not able to take shelter indoors.
You should also include points in your tornado safety plan such as how to safely evacuate after the storm passes and what to do in the aftermath, such as assigning someone to contact emergency personnel and another to provide aid until help arrives.
Is your organization prepared for a weather emergency? Do your employees know what to do and where to go? In addition to our insurance offerings, Lamb Financial Group can also help your organization form a safety committee and create a safety policy. Contact us to learn how we can help you be prepared for anything.
Lauren Kornutick, a Sr. Claims and Loss Control Representative at Lamb Financial Group, recently offered up some valuable advice for employers on ensuring safety and health in the workplace:
“Be mindful of the small stuff!”
Here’s a perfect example of why you do need to sweat the small stuff when it comes to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment:
Lauren was on a site conducting a health and safety inspection, and everything appeared to be in compliance. But it would only appear that way to the untrained eye! Lauren quickly noticed that the inspection tags on the fire extinguishers – which are often hidden on the back of the extinguishers – were not up to date.
Do you know the last time the dates were checked on all of the extinguishers in your company’s building? The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) confirms that extinguishers do expire! As explained by InterNachi, here are a few common reasons why extinguishers expire.
“. . . over time, the seal on the neck will weaken and allow compressed gas to escape. Extinguishers that have lost much of their pressure will not operate . . . ‘ABC’ class extinguishers (ammonium phosphate) have the tendency to fail due to solidification of the chemical in the canister base.”
Ensuring that all the extinguishers in your company’s building are up to date and in proper working condition is just one example of what could be considered “the small stuff.” Here are a few other details that OSHA notes are often overlooked. .
- Piles of equipment or supplies that could be dangerous if disrupted.
- Poor lighting that could result in incidents or accidents on steps, walkways, etc.
- Extension cords, piping, and any other object that could be a tripping hazard.
- Loose guard rails, handrails, or windows.
- Any objects that could potentially block aisles, escape paths, fire extinguishers, etc.
The list goes on and on! You can never be too careful when it comes to ensuring that your staff and employees are safe and that you are protected as well.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the safety and health programs at your business, contact Lamb Financial Group in New York or Pennsylvania at 1.866.481.5262.
Photo via Suvijakra/ Shutterstock.com
How detailed is the safety plan for your business? Do you have PPE? Does your company require MSDS’s? Do you utilize swimlane diagrams to illustrate processes?
A proper company safety plan for a business involves much more than simply writing out a few safety rules and guidelines. As the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) outlines, a company safety plan requires training, support staff, documentation, inspections/audits, and communication. The safety plan for your business may also require PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) forms, and written hazard communication. Flow diagrams or flow charts known as swimlane diagrams may need to be developed and distributed in order to clearly outline work processes including who needs to do what and when.
As one small business chronicle notes, companies should also show their commitment to their safety plans by assigning a safety and health officer. This officer would help establish and oversee a monitoring system. Finally, a business safety plan must – of course – follow all of the state and federal laws for workplace safety and clearly outline exact escape plans.
Having a meticulously planned company safety plan lets your employees know exactly what safety standards they can expect the company to uphold, as well as provide guidance for everyone in the event that an emergency situation arises.
There are many other benefits a strong company safety plan offers in addition to fostering a safe working environment and equipping employees to handle incidents. For example, a safety plan can, over time, improve loss history, which can result in better pricing and terms for company insurance renewals.
If you need assistance creating your own company safety plan, Lamb Financial would be happy to provide you with a quote. Visit our website for more information or contact us at 1.866.481.5262 to schedule a consultation.