Know the Drill | Workplace Safety for Natural Disasters

A natural disaster could strike at any time, including while you’re at work. Every year, thousands of workplaces are affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes. While you can’t prevent all natural disasters, you can be prepared when one occurs.

Per OSHA, companies with 10 or more employees need to have a written emergency action place (EAP) that provides employer and employee actions to be taken during an emergency. However just having a workplace emergency action plan is not enough to help keep you safe. Employees should think through all the possible emergency situations that could happen in the workplace and make sure you’re prepared to protect yourself in those situations.

There are many actions that employees can take to prepare in advance for a natural disaster:

  • Ensure you’re fully aware of your company’s emergency action plan, including actions to be taken in an emergency, evacuation procedures, and chain of command. If the plan is lacking in any areas, bring your concerns to the attention of management.
  • Know where the closest exits are at all times and know several routes that can be taken to evacuate in case certain exits are unusable. Know your company designated evacuation meeting place.
  • Ensure you have access to the equipment you’d need to keep yourself safe during all different types of emergencies.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for the workplace, including at least three days of non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, a radio, tools, and more.
  • Practice the emergency action plan, so that plan weaknesses can be identified and fixed before an emergency occurs. Company drills conducted without notice and at various times can be helpful in testing the effectiveness of emergency action plans.
  • Have an emergency communication plan in place and have important phone numbers memorized.
  • If a disaster occurs, be aware of potential new hazards that may have been created, such as chemical spills, downed electrical lines, structure stability, fire, etc.

Though natural disasters can happen at any time, advance planning can help you be as prepared as possible and increase your workplace safety. There are many free emergency preparedness resources available online, including valuable information provided at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date Posted: 03-27-2018
Tags: emergency action plans, osha safety topics, osha workplace safety, workplace emergency,
Categories: OSHA Safety,