Osha Emergency Response In Ma

Written by Shirley Parker
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OSHA has many tools for use by First and Second Responders. In addition to the kinds of emergencies long recognized--floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and riots, our world is now having to develop counter terrorism procedures as well. OSHA focuses on preparedness, including planning and training in the workforce, as well as reducing and controlling the additional hazards, such as bombs and biochemicals, that emergency responders may well face in a world now "united" by terrorist threats.

First Responders are a community's police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians; many of us have first hand experience with their assistance in times of personal trauma. They are there for us during highway carnage, neighborhood fires, civil unrest, and private planes crashing into homes shortly after take-off. Second Responders often face contaminated sites and need to neutralize and/or collect samples of dangerous or unknown substances. Additionally, they are called in to investigate what too often turns out to be a crime scene. OSHA has guidelines for essential equipment, training videos, publications, and self-study courses for workers.

In addition to providing expert assistance for Responders, OSHA supports the National Response System with policies and procedures for an incident of national import. Their extensive website also has tools for what they call "general worksites" or workplaces where the populace is employed. This includes information on safety kits, evacuation planning, fire and explosion planning, escape respirators and many more resource links. The evacuation planning matrix, for example, has broadbased information, plus instructions on where to get more detailed help for specific types of buildings.

Some Additional Sources for Help with Emergency Preparedness

Your local law enforcement and rescue agencies may be willing to send a team to your workplace, in addition to their regular inspections of the buildings. Employees may pay more attention to an authority figure in a uniform than to a coworker. After all, the officer or firefighter has been there, done that, and has many of the answers from personal experience. An employer representative can also contact the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, CDC, or Department of Labor (for anthrax concerns). State agencies also have emergency plans in place.

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