Resource Newsletter
February 2012

Preparing for the worst

Is your business ready?

When Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast in late 2012, it took days, even weeks, for some businesses to get back up and running. Francisco Ianni, director of emergency preparedness for the Oregon region of the Red Cross, spent time deployed in New Jersey and hopes Oregon businesses were paying attention.

"We had days to say the storm is coming," Ianni said. "Being on the ground and talking to folks on the ground, Red Cross volunteers could get to affected areas relatively quickly. With an earthquake scenario, you don't know it's going to come. We will not be able to get to the coast if bridges collapse and a tsunami occurs. Those areas will essentially be islands. It's important for businesses to understand and be aware."

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Emergency plans – does your workplace need them?

The standard definition of an emergency goes something like this: "a sudden unforeseen crisis, usually involving danger, that requires immediate action." Most workplace emergencies fit this definition, but not all of them.

For example, a health-related crisis – such as a flu pandemic – may not happen suddenly or require immediate action but it could become an emergency over days or weeks. Unlike most personal emergencies, workplace emergencies require an immediate, coordinated response from many individuals in an organization who may have little information about the crisis.

Safety Notes - A worker is caught in a six-foot-deep excavation while repairing a leaking water main

  • Incident: Caught in
  • Business: Public Works
  • Employee: Laborer

A crew of four employees made a six-foot-deep excavation on the side of a road to repair a leaking water main. Water from the leaking pipe saturated the soil, which made the trench walls unstable.

Ask Technical: A worker writes with a question about training and equipment.

Q: I am a clerk in a retail garden center. Recently, my employer asked me to use a handheld circular saw to break down some wooden shipping pallets. I've never used one of these saws before. Is my employer required to do something so that I don't hurt myself when I use it?

Going the Distance:

Meet Leslie Kantor, the safety manager at NW Natural

Leslie Kantor, safety manager at NW Natural

News Briefs

  • Oregon OSHA reminds businesses of reporting obligation
  • Annual Pulp and Paper Workers Conference held in Portland
  • Oregon OSHA launches new lifting calculator app
  • Registration open for 2013 Oregon GOSH Conference