When an emergency situation arises on a construction site, in order to ensure that all workers get out alive, the first thing employers need to consider is whether the proper procedures have been implemented to deal with emergencies and secondly whether employees are aware of these procedures through training and education.
Permanent workers, contractors, apprentices, temporary and experienced employees all need to be trained to handle the hazards and risks presented by construction and also need to be trained on what to do if something goes wrong.
Obviously the most crucial training that workers must undertake regardless of which state or territory they are based in or what work they do on the construction site is the White Card Course. All across Australia workers need to complete the White Card course to fulfil a mandatory federal requirement as well as to ensure they are prepared in terms of construction health and safety.
Unfortunately construction is a high risk industry and accidents do happen, workers must be prepared to respond to emergencies correctly because in an emergency a split second can mean the difference between life and death.
Most experts agree that panicking is one of the worst if not the worst thing people can do in an emergency situation however when we are caught unaware and when we aren’t aware of how to react in an emergency we are more likely to panic. So ensuring that the proper procedures are in place and that workers get the necessary training is crucial.
When serious disasters take place such as fires, explosions, collapses and even natural disasters take place, prompt response is vital to prevent injury and perhaps assist those workers who may have already been injured.
Workers need to remember that when an incident of such nature occurs, we need to protect our own health and safety first. If we are injured or killed we aren’t going to be of any use to help our co-workers anyway. Also we need to be trained on the appropriate response because time to assess the situation is limited and workers need to instinctively know what to do.
What can I do in an emergency?
Firstly stay calm, as we have already mentioned panicking is one of the worst things you could do. You are also more likely to make a mistake if you panic because you aren’t able to think clearly.
In addition to staying calm, you need to raise the alarm and get help by notifying as many people as possible of the situation. Alert your supervisors, first aid officers and/or health and safety reps of the situation.
Also remember the following:
- Employers must implement emergency response procedures, reviewing them during each stage of construction
- Workers must receive training on these procedures and should be informed if anything changes
- When developing safety plans, the availability of emergency services must also be considered
- In developing the safety plans and procedures, all possible scenarios should be taken into consideration. Each construction site will differ in this regard.
- Implementing controls and emergency procedures isn’t enough, adequate training is vital to ensure that these procedures can be carried out.