Thursday, September 17, 2009

Help! Would your workers know what to do?

Jane was on her usual route to the printer to pick up her morning reports when without warning, she collapsed to the ground.

Mary, who was just steps behind her in the hallway, rushed to Jane’s side, quickly determined that she’s unconscious and yelled for help. Other coworkers hurry from their cubes and offices to see what’s happening, but no one knows what to do.

They’re frantic, asking each other – Who knows CPR? What’s the extension for the medical readiness group? What do we DO?

Your company may have a medical response plan for emergency situations like these in the office, but how confident are you that everyone will know what to do when faced with a serious medical emergency?

The first step for any business is to develop a comprehensive Emergency Medical Response Action Plan. According to OSHA, an emergency action plan should include, at least:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan

Having a plan is only the first step. In order for it to work, employees need to know their responsibilities. After developing your medical response plan, here are some ways to ensure employees will know how to follow it.

  • Set up an Emergency Medical Response Team (MRT). Members of this team should be trained in CPR and AED use. At least one member of the team should be available during each shift.

  • Provide first aid training. Even employees who are not members of the MRT should be trained on basic first aid and know what to do until a member of the MRT arrives.

  • Keep first aid supplies easily accessible. Train workers on where these first aid supplies are kept and how to use each item.

  • Post medical response information in high-traffic areas. Create safety posters with the names and extensions of MRT members and hang the posters in highly visible areas in the building.

  • Train everyone. Train every employee in the building on your medical response plan and how they should respond in emergency situations. Develop role-play activities to ensure that employees understand the plan.

Remember that even a small accident like a slip and fall can put an employee out of commission for weeks. Have a plan and train employees on how to respond to and prevent emergencies and accidents on the job.

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