In recognition of National Preparedness Month, Cintas Corporation, which provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America, has identified four common workplace emergencies and key readiness tips to help businesses stay prepared in the event of an emergency.
According to a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, close to 60 percent of Americans feel unprepared for a disaster of any kind, yet 82 percent would be inclined to participate in readiness training if it were made available.
“An emergency or disaster can happen at any time and without warning,” said John Amann, Vice President, First Aid & Safety, Cintas. “To avoid downtime or potential hardship, businesses should make sure they have the right products and training in place to ensure their workplace is prepared in case an unforeseen event was to occur.”
Four common workplace emergencies include:
1. Fires - In 2009, structure fires caused more than $10.8 billion property damage and 2,695 civilian deaths.
To combat a fire quickly and limit potential damage, employees need to know how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
In addition, employees should understand the five classes of fire, when not to fight a fire and other potential fire prevention methods if a fire extinguisher is not available.
Businesses should also be sure extinguishers are regularly serviced and inspected so they are ready for use in an emergency situation.
2. Chemical Spills – Chemical spills can happen anywhere, yet hazard communication violations are frequently cited as a top Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) violation.
Workers who use chemicals must have the proper training to understand the types of chemicals they’re using and proper classifications, including the FACTOR System (Flammable and Corrosive, Toxic or Reactive).
In addition to understanding the right procedures for response, workers must have the proper equipment to respond to a chemical spill, including emergency eye wash stations and spill kits.
3. Sudden Cardiac Arrest – OSHA reports that there are 220,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) per year in the United States, and about 10,000 SCA episodes occur at work.
To help reduce the opportunity of death surrounding a SCA incident, businesses should have an Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) program in place, ensuring AEDs are accessible throughout common areas in the facility.
4. Blood Spills – In cases of severe lacerations or injuries, businesses should have a protocol in place for cleaning up blood.
With heightened awareness of potential exposure to bloodborne disease, it is important that staff members know how to properly cleanup blood and limit the risk for infection or disease.
“National Preparedness Month offers an ideal opportunity for businesses to review the emergency programs they have in place,” added Kate Lohner, Assistant Marketing Manager, First Aid & Safety, Cintas. “From training employees on proper use of a fire extinguisher to making sure first-aid kits are stocked, preparation is the first step in minimizing the impact of an emergency situation.”
Cintas offers a comprehensive line of emergency preparedness training solutions. For more information on Cintas’ first-aid safety and training options for businesses, go to www.cintas.com/firstaidsafety/.