What is a Construction Company Emergency Plan?
Construction sites are rife with on-the-job hazards. These can be brought upon by a variety of factors, including changing weather conditions, flooding, fire, electrical issues, dangers posed by heavy machinery and harmful substances. Every construction company needs to have a clear emergency plan in place should any of these factors pose an immediate threat to the lives of its workers.
Emergency plans are usually developed well in advance of the beginning of the project. All crew members need to be well-versed in the plan’s procedures in the event of an emergency. What, then, does the typical construction company emergency plan consist of?
Mapping the Site
A clear floor plan of the construction site is essential to any sound emergency plan. This layout should be clearly displayed around the working site, and should explicitly show all emergency exits and evacuation routes. It should also reveal where emergency equipment is stored. Such tools include protective clothing and fire extinguishers.
Predicting the problems
Before construction begins, all supervisors and workers should try to predict potentially explosive on-site situations. These should also include any hazards that may only reveal themselves over time. Appropriate hazard-control procedures should also be devised and rehearsed.
Each worker should be assigned a specific task to carry out during emergency procedures. This will ensure that all drills are carried out smoothly and without confusion. Certain tasks include the following: contacting emergency personnel, talking to the media in the aftermath of the event, fire control and others.
A good plan ensures that all emergency numbers are clearly displayed next to telephones around the site. Such numbers should include those of the fire and health departments, as well as the police and other quick response teams.
Using the Right Equipment
Not only should emergency equipment be easy to access during an emergency, but all working staff should be able to use it properly. This applies to protective gear, ladders and most importantly, fire extinguishers. Many emergencies can turn into dangerous situations if workers cannot operate emergency tools properly.
Drill, drill, drill
It goes without saying that an emergency plan is ineffective without proper rehearsal. The whole working team should drill the procedure at certain intervals to ensure that everyone is well-versed in what needs to be done to manage the problem.
Often, procedures need to be altered as the construction project develops. This occurs for a number of reasons, including the discovery of hazardous materials, like asbestos, or a shift in the physical layout of the site due to weather changes. It can also apply to the employment of new workers who are inexperienced in certain aspects of emergency control. It is therefore important for the emergency plan to be under constant review. It’s also a good idea to revise the emergency plan to ensure that everyone stays up-to-date on on-site changes.
These are just some of the characteristics of a good emergency plan. Much of the information pertaining to sound construction emergency procedures can be learnt in a white card course. This entails mandatory training for all construction workers, and addresses all of the essential aspects of health and safety in the Australian construction industry.