The recent weather events of tornadoes and severe weather that rolled through, decimating western Kentucky and other places of the Midwest were nothing short of awful and tragic.
These events shined a light on the level of preparedness of manufacturing, distribution, factories, and all other places of business. Many of these organizations do not allow phones on the shop floor. They mandate they stay in the car or in the employee’s locker. This is understandable and for good reason. The phone can be a major distraction and lead to an unsafe working environment for employees. Imagine walking through the shop floor with your nose in your phone and the forklift turns the corner. Not to mention, the steep decrease in productivity if employees are on their phones.
However, if employees do not have access to their phones for updates such as inclement weather, news, a means to call for help – what is the employer doing to keep their employees safe? They have a duty, an obligation, to provide means to communicate immediate and critical events to its employees. ADA compliance should also be considered by providing layers of communication.
How could these events be communicated to employees in a factory setting?
- Audible message over PA system
- Siren/Strobe that signifies specific events
- Audible messages over two-way radio or pagers
- Computer monitor or message board messaging
On top of this communication, they also need to provide a wealth of options for that employee to notify someone of a critical event; such as moderate workplace violence and maybe even the most severe – an active shooter.
How could employees communicate or signal they need help?
- Panic button stations representing different emergencies to trigger different actions
- Personal panic button or lone worker device
- Gunshot detection – needing no human action to send an alert or notification
The instant communication to employees and a means for them to send an alert is only half of the equation. All of these layers of technology should all be customized and tied to the specific plan of the employer. Each organization needs to have a robust plan in place, planning for any and all types of emergencies. Employees need to know what plan to execute and when. Employers should be ready with a plan and then a way to communicate that plan in order to fulfill their duty of keeping their people, their most value assets, safe.