Disaster Planning—What Employees Need to Know
Fires are the most common type of workplace emergency. The National Fire Protection Association reports that a fire department somewhere in America responds to a fire every 16 seconds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that fires cause as many as 10,000 employee injuries and 200 employee deaths every year. In addition, the U.S. Fire Administration says that losses from industrial fires cost U.S. businesses over $4 billion a year in property losses and more than $8 billion in business interruption costs. Explosions resulting from fires, bombs, or other causes can claim many lives, leave many more badly injured, and destroy property. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes can strike with little or no warning. Hurricanes and floods may be forecast, but effective emergency action in these situations may nevertheless be required. Toxic chemical releases can require emergency response within the workplace and in the surrounding community. Workplace violence can erupt at any time in any department. We must be prepared to respond quickly and appropriately in these dangerous and sometimes life-threatening situations. Since the Oklahoma bombing, the events of September 11, 2001, and subsequent terrorist activity around the world, it has become clear to all Americans that we must be prepared to face the possibility of terrorist attacks in the workplace at any time.
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