#YHSafetyTips - Earthquakes

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, Aug 23, 2017

Earthquakes are caused by breaking and shifting rock beneath the Earth's surface. They are sudden and shake the ground rapidly, proper preparation is the only safe guard.

Preparation

To prepare for earthquakes, you need to know what dangers are during them. Some of the dangers are:

  • Burns from building fires from gas leaks or electrical shorts
  • Getting struck by structural components or furnishings
  • Exposure to chemicals released from stored or process chemicals

What you can do to prepare:

  • Find a safe place before an earthquake away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture
  • Drop, Cover, and hold-on. Practice in each safe place, such as under a sturdy table or desk. And protect your eyes by keeping your head down.

Drop - Cover - Hold On

Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

The Earthquake County Alliance states that "Taking the proper actions, such as "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", can save lives and reduce the risk of injury. Everyone, everywhere, should learn and practice what to do during an earthquake, whether at home, work, school or traveling."

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

HOLD ON until shaking stops

  • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Make a plan for workers to follow in the event of an earthquake, make sure you take these precautions:

  • Wait in the safe place until the shaking stops, and check to see if you are hurt before checking on others. Use caution moving around looking for things that have fallen or broken. Be ready for aftershocks.
  • Look for fires. Some may start around gas lines or electrical shorts or even appliances.
  • If you have to leave the building, use the stairs and not the elevator. Look for falling debris as buildings can shift and cause materials to be loosened.
  • If you are outside during the earthquake, stay there. stay away from buildings, trees, streetlights and overhead lines. Get down and cover your own head.

First-aid training is needed especially after an earthquake occurs. Get your workers trained by an organization such as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or National Safety Council chapter.

Recovery teams may be required to enter a collapsed structure. Emergency responders include firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, construction workers and government representatives. They may be in charge of assisting survivors, extinguishing fires, shutting off utilities, or even shoring-up safe paths into a structure.

For more information, read OSHA’s section on Earthquakes.

If you missed last week’s blog post on Safety Committees, read it here.

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