How does Your Workplace Measure Up? Here is a quick tool for you to compare your workplace’s safety measures against an approach that’s been proven to work. Every workplace should have a comprehensive safety and emergency response plan specific to their needs.
If you believe that your school or work site needs some help, visit www.aftct.org to learn more about emergency preparedness and what you can do as a member to help develop and implement a living plan for all workplace personnel.
Have you seen your workplace’s plan? Plans that work best have a committee of key stakeholders who develop, implement, and evaluate the plan.
If you’re looking for additional help or ideas, or just want to discuss your concerns, contact your local union president.
Does your workplace have an active safety committee? Does the committee include a representative from all staff groups classroom, hospital department, management, custodial/maintenance, food service?
Local union leadership should contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Safe and well-prepared workplaces can be a reality for all workplace personnel. We know this to be true because many AFT members already teach and work in safe workplaces.
If your workplace is a school, does it include parents as well as students when age appropriate? Does your planning include emergency personnel—fire, police, medical?
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Is your workplace prepared for an emergency?
Emergencies range in scope and intensity from incidents that directly or indirectly affect a single person to ones that impact the entire community. Crises can happen before, during, or after work and on or off work sites. The time to think about an emergency situation that may arise at or around a workplace is not in the midst of a crisis situation. Unfortunately, many times that is exactly what happens. Knowing specific responses and how to implement them quickly – by all members of the workplace community – is the key to ensuring the safety of everyone at the workplace.
Ideal Components Prevention and Mitigation The active and ongoing assessment of all potential hazards, including natural events as well as events caused by people (all hazards).
Preparedness The protocols for any anticipated emergency.
Components in My Workplace’s Plan
All Hazards Approach Workplaces normally have emergency procedures in case of fire, which include drills that are practiced routinely, and/or posted fire emergency evacuation plans. But how many other potential hazards is your workplace prepared for? The “all hazards” approach to emergency planning includes thinking about and planning for any potential hazard that may occur at or around a workplace. Plans need to address a range of events and hazards caused by both nature and by people, such as:
Natural disasters Severe weather Fires Chemical/hazardous material spills Bus crashes Workplace shootings
Bomb threats Medical emergencies Student, patient, or staff deaths Acts of terror or war Disease/infections outbreaks
Response In the event of a crisis, the plan provides for the safety of everyone in the building and community as quickly as possible.
Recovery The plan to restore workplace function. This phase should address all aspects of recovery.
Other issues commonly overlooked in emergency response plans
Buildings change, communities change, and the world changes.
Emergency preparedness plans should be reviewed and updated regularly. Good plans are never finished! If you feel your plan falls short, talk to your building or union representative about ways to communicate your concerns to your workplace management.
All hazards identified; Ongoing method for staff to report potential hazards - broken door locks, unsafe lighting, etc.;
Sign-in procedures for building visitors; and Security procedures and personnel.
A clear chain of command described in plan; Roles and responsibilities of staff clearly described; Cooperation with public safety agencies outlined; Communication method throughout the workplace and community (if a school, to parents); Hazards identified; and Transportation (if a school, school bus protocols during emergencies).
Routine practice of protocols; Fire drills; Evacuation; Evacuation of any workplace person with disabilities; Lockdowns; Active shooters; Earthquake drills; and Tornado drills; Training for all workplace personnel; and If a school, procedures for reuniting students and parents after an event, including sign-out protocol.
Methods to address emotional and social health of all workplace personnel; Methods to address physical damage to building/grounds; and Methods to communicate to all workplace personnel on recovery services.
Does your safe plan include multiple-language formats? Printed and electronic copies? TTY-TTD? Braille?
Are there backup plans for every key person responsible for a major component of the safety plan?
Are accommodations made for workplace personnel with special needs? If a school, experts recommend that a student’s IEP address any special requirements for evacuation and lockdown procedures, communication with parents/guardians, and special medical needs. The timing of an emergency can never be planned. If a school, the bus drivers often have routes that take them to many schools at different times of the day. These transportation schedules must be taken into account.