What’s Wrong?

 In 2023, Tip of the Week

Do you get the Daily News Digest from OSHA? If so, you may have already seen this story.

Almost a year ago, on March 24, 2023, a devastating fire at a West Reading, PA chocolate factory caused 100 residents to evacuate their homes, injured 11, and took the lives of seven workers. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that while the factory had food and safety procedures, they did not have procedures specific to the natural gas used there. To quote the OSHA Daily News, the chocolate factory “could have prevented the tragedy by following required safety procedures and evacuating employees when they smelled the gas leak.” Read the full story here:

NTSB releases findings following investigation into deadly PA chocolate factory explosion

We don’t have to tell you what is wrong with that picture and that statement. In 29 CFR, Part 1910.38(c), it says“An emergency action plan must include at a minimum: Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments.”

Another requirement of the same regulation is to make sure employees know what the alarm sounds like. Acceptable alarms can be shouted instructions, like “FIRE, GET OUT NOW,” an air horn, or a sophisticated system of tones and whistles for different types of emergencies. A recommended method of review of evacuation routes and alarms is to have a brief review during a safety meeting, followed by an evacuation drill complete with sounding an alarm.

Weekly Challenge Discussion:

What type of emergencies could reasonably happen at your worksite? What would you do if an emergency happened right now? And then, possibly more importantly, when was the last time you talked about what to do during an emergency with your family? Do they know how to get out of your home safely?

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