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How to Deal with Catastrophic Accidents in the Workplace

In most of the world, but especially in the U.S., it is not uncommon to have all the adults in a household be part of the workforce. It is common to hear expressions such as “double-income household” which refers to a couple where both people work outside the home. Along with the increase of adults in the workplace, we have also experienced a rise in workplace accidents. News channels are flooded with news of fatalities involving falling of cranes, workers getting caught between concrete slabs, electrocutions, and more.

The data regarding accidents in the workplace is as follows:

An accident affects not only the victim, but also the family members and other people like eyewitnesses, co-workers, survivors, employers, and others. In the year 2012, there were approximately 4, 628 workplace accidents. These occurrences in private construction zones have risen at least 5% from previous years. But, the good news is that life-threatening construction injuries are approximately 35% less since the year 2006.

Employers must implement an emergency response plan

Employers must anticipate and prepare for every significant emergency before it occurs. They should understand the dangers that lie within their specific industry, especially those that cause severe injury and death =. They must understand that preparation does not always mean prevention. Therefore, emergency plans must be in place and ready to be executed on the spot.

OSHA’s emergency action plan

The Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (known as “OSHA”) describes an emergency action plan standard which points to the policies and the various procedures employers and employees should follow for efficiently dealing with workplace emergencies. The standard states that employers need to address the worst emergency case types that are probable in their organization.

According to OSHA, an emergency plan must include:

  • A favorable method of reporting the accident
  • A proper evacuation procedure
  • An escape plan
  • Route assignments
  • Significant contact numbers with telephone facility
  • Necessary strategies for the workers who remain for the closure of the censorious operations.

What are the examples of what any given employer should include in an emergency action plan?

  • Training to the employees about the particular duties and responsibilities during an accident
  • The training must consist of the threat and hazard identification
  • Identify the correct and prompt actions that are supposed to be taken
  • Provide warning alerts
  • Explain communication methods
  • Cover ways to contact the family members

What immediate action steps can be taken in an emergency?

  1. Summon medical personnel or nurses present at the job site
  2. Summon EMS and other emergency personnel such as police and firefighters
  3. The organization should look after the victim’s family’s needs.

The investigation

An employer must initiate the inquiry immediately when the incident is still fresh in people’s minds. He or she must ensure that the investigation team is sticking with the facts and not manipulating any evidence. The employer must take an active part in the process. The investigation will help in identifying both the witnesses and evidence.

The notification

The necessary notification about the deceased or injured victim should be provided to the family members by the company representatives in person and not over the telephone.

To deal with catastrophic accidents in the workplace, both the employers and employees must prepare beforehand. The emergency response plan potentially minimizes extent of injuries during an exigency as individuals can be equipped with the correct training and its execution.

Written By

Pastrana Abogados are personal injury lawyers that have practiced personal injury litigation for many years. They have handled a wide variety of cases. Learn more at

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