Safety is no accident

Plant safety and security has never been more important given the current political climate. Here are some web resources for a coordinated, plant-wide response to madness and mayhem.

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As far as responses to more serious emergencies are concerned, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Virtual Naval Hostpital to read a textbook for the standard first aid course offered by our Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. In its dozen chapters and appendix, you’ll learn more than you wanted to know about treating a variety of maladies, and you’ll gain some practical skills.

The Portal Approach
The research for this column uncovered a huge site dedicated to crime and the elimination thereof. This prodigious effort, Criminal Justice Resources, is the handiwork of Jon Harrison, a criminal justice specialist and social sciences collections coordinator at Michigan State University. The topic is of a grand scale and Harrison has managed to find a suitable nook or cranny for every relevant facet you can imagine. Cutting to the chase, however, I direct your digital attention to one small part of the work. Shoot your mouse over here and you’ll find at least 200 links to the content he calls Terrorism Groups and Related Issues. These links, some of which are portals in their own right, cover a lot of territory. I’d suggest you scan the offering for something that you might find interesting.

A Study in Disaster
Four year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta provided funding to start the Institute for Bioterrorism at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health. This organization’s web site is a good resource for information on chemical, radiological and nuclear terrorism, as well as a place to learn something about smallpox, anthrax, botulism and plague. Clicking on “In Case Of Emergency” brings you guidance about what to do with suspicious mail. If you have any first responders on staff, this page also lists the phone number for the chemical and biological hotline, the contact point mandated by the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation.

Self-study
For those of you with an interest in learning how to deal with disaster, I’d recommend Emergency Response to Terrorism: Self-Study, a course developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 103-page study guide is designed for fire personnel, emergency medical service responders and hazardous materials responders, any of whom can find themselves being cast into the role of first responder when arriving at the scene. This is heavy material.

The Great Escape
Know how to respond when it becomes painfully obvious that you and everyone else in the plant better get out of Dodge, pronto. Every facility, plant and office ought to have a well-rehearsed and documented plan for moving employees to safe quarters if something nasty occurs. Your plan should conform to 29 CFR 1910.38 -- Emergency Action Plans.

If anyone should know about such things, it’s the administrators in the great city of New York. The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Office of Emergency Management prepared a 24-page document, Emergency and Evacuation Planning -- A Resource Guide for Employers, that might assist you in developing your own workplace emergency and evacuation plans. The guide’s eight chapters and two appendices provide the resources you should know about before you delve into an escape strategy.

Follow that with a visit to the Emergency Evacuation Checklist, published by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Don’t forget to follow the link at the bottom of the page to access the organization’s guide to emergency planning.

Finally, investigate “Best Practices in Workplace Security,” the report from the South Carolina Governor’s workplace security advisory committee. This purpose of the 68-page document at www.llr.state.sc.us/workplace/Full%20Report.pdf [no hyphens] is to help develop and disseminate checklists of best practices for employers in preventing and responding to terrorist activity or sabotage.

OSHA
Plant safety isn’t simply about unprovoked mayhem. Some safety problems might affect only one person, but the plant is still on the governmental hook. Because ignorance of the law isn’t recognized as being a good excuse, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor posted to your favorite web the entire contents of 29CFR 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards. Overall, 1910 and its myriad subparts pretty well covers work surfaces, exits, protective gear, chemical storage and any of the other mischief you’re going to get into during normal industrial operations. It’s the law of the land, so you might want to bookmark the page for future reference.

Bringing It All Back Home
If and when we experience some mass emergency, it’s only natural that one’s thoughts drift to concern about the home front and family. Peace of mind comes from knowing that every family member is prepared for trouble and knows what to do when the red alert is sounding. To get you and yours started, you might want to follow some of the recommendations in Personal Preparedness Guide, part of the Washington Post site. It starts out with general information and gets more thorough in its coverage as you move down the menu. Much of the material at the bottom, such as contact information for government agencies and schools, is specific to the Washington area. You can use that info as a model to develop a similar listing for your hometown. Pull down some of the material and involve your loved ones in formulating your mutual security measures.

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