Emergency Drills

Emergency Drills – are you doing them?

Think back to when you were a kid in school. Do you remember the various hazard drills you had to practice? Depending on where you lived there were fire drills, tornado drills, earthquake drills, intruder drills, etc. The idea was that if such an incident were to happen, everyone would know what to do without thinking about it. They would just act.

Why is it that once we get into the working world, it seems these drills go by the wayside? Whether you are just in an office building where you could be threatened by fire or tornados, or a shop where there could be industrial accidents like chemical spills, why is it we don’t always think to conduct these same ‘worst case’ scenario drills?

It’s time to reinstate the emergency drill. But this will not be just any emergency drill. All businesses are different, and that means you will have specific needs that have to be met. Think about what needs to be met in your workplace in an emergency. 

Possible Threats
In addition to the fire and nature-related threats already mentioned, are there any specific threats that may impact your workplace (i.e. radiation leaks, chemical spills, explosions from combustibles). If there are, you need to train your personnel on how to deal with these situations were they to arise.

Employee Safety
It is important to make sure your employees know where they need to go, and how to get there, to be safe in an emergency situation.

Machine Shutdown
If you have a number of machines operating in your building, and some need to be monitored or assisted while running so they don’t burn up or cause more problems, you need a shut-down procedure that can be followed quickly while still getting your employees to safety in an emergency situation.

Materials Safety
If your workplace has a number of chemicals or other hazardous materials in use, it is vital that you have measures in place to attempt to secure these materials as an evacuation or other emergency operation is underway. Many of these types of companies have special rooms where the chemicals are kept which can be shut and sealed off as an evacuation is happening.

You should plan regular drills with your employees to make sure they know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it in case of an emergency. While you may not want to regularly close down all your operations for a drill, you can go department by department, and make the employees do a mock incident, and monitor their reactions, noting any mistakes they make in the process. 

While it may seem like an inconvenience, the more prepared your company is for the worst the better chance you will be able to safely shut down operations and get everyone out alive and well if the worst were to happen.

Right now Safety Concepts offer an online course in OHS Consultation. This course covers all the requirements under the new Harmonised OHS laws and it is a nationally recognised qualification that can be the start of your own Certificate IV in OHS. The course is completely online with no classes to attend or lectures to sit through. You can start your qualification immediately and study anywhere and anytime.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (3)

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  1. The issue with Emergency Drills these days is they take time to conduct and with such tight schedules on work and cost of hourly wages, employers push them aside as too costly.
    I agree they should have more focus as they could be the differance between multiple fatalities and an injury / damage free evacuation.

  2. Fiona Etherington says:

    I implement four emergency response exercises a year relating to incidents that could potentially happen on site.
    They don’t take a lot of time to organise or conduct, but I find the lack of participation and seriousness of the exercise to be the main issue.
    No one wants to be apart of it, others watch from a distance making comments and laughing as though it was free entertainment, with limited support from managment.
    Why do people still find it hard to see the importance of Safety?


  3. Ajlouny says:

    I agree that the emergency drills should still be in effect even though we are in the workplace. Its so evident that there has to be a plan…look what happened during 9/11. I am sure that if there was an evacuation plan, there would have been just a few more people saved.

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