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For Immediate Release
October 7, 2002
Contact Information:
Kevin Weeks 503-947-7428  (direct dial)

New Oregon OSHA guide for ‘Expecting the Unexpected' at work

It's a typical day at work, either in the office or in a production area. Someone shouts, and you see smoke coming from behind a door. What happens in the next few minutes will determine who survives this incident without injuries. This is not the time to figure out how to respond to a workplace emergency.

Oregon OSHA has developed a new, free 24-page guide to help employers plan ahead for workplace emergencies called "Expecting the Unexpected". The guide introduces employers to incident-management systems for the workplace, and explains factors to consider when planning for an emergency.

Emergency planning for the workplace involves five steps:
Involve employees
(Where are emergencies likely to occur, are there hazards management might not be aware of?)
Identify possible incidents
(Where might we be vulnerable, who would need protective equipment?)
Establish a chain of command
(Who will be in charge during a crisis, who will make sure everyone is accounted for?)
Develop procedures
(How do we respond, do we need additional training such as CPR?)
Implement your workplace emergency plan
(Who should train people about the system, when shall we test how the system works?)

Topics covered in "Expecting the Unexpected" include how to plan for earthquakes, explosions, fires, hazardous-substance releases, medical emergencies and weather-related crises. The guide also addresses how to plan for modern emergencies such as threats of violence and terrorism.

‘Expecting the Unexpected'
is available from Oregon OSHA's website, www.orosha.org or by calling Oregon OSHA's Resource Center, 503-378-3272 (Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689).

As people work longer hours, chances are high that a disaster may strike while you are working. A recent survey of Oregon residents commissioned by the American Red Cross, Oregon Emergency Management, and SAFECO Insurance discovered that of the 744 Oregon households sampled, fewer than half had done any disaster preparedness planning, despite one-third of the sample group having experienced some form of disaster either at home or at work. Preparing for workplace emergencies can save lives and valuable time when a crisis occurs.