Anyone in the construction business knows that being organized is one of the keys to success. Another important element to long-term success in building is having a strong handle on the risk management solution for nearly any contingency that may occur. Whether disaster strikes due to an accident, a deliberate act, or an act of nature, being prepared can mitigate losses and get an operation back on track much quicker than if one were to just “wing it”.
Not only is emergency preparation important for your construction site, but it will also make a big difference when you get quotes for such things as construction liability insurance and builders risk insurance. When you show that you are prepared and ready for anything, your rates will reflect it. So, how do you construct an emergency plan for your construction site? It’s not as difficult as you may think.
Start by making a list of all internal personnel, those who work for your company, that will handle various duties in the event of an emergency. List their names, area of responsibility and as many contact numbers as you have for each person.
You will also want to list the phone numbers of external emergency sources. These would include:
- Fire Department
- Building Management
- All Utilities (Electric, Gas, Water, Telephone)
Map your construction site and clearly define evacuation routes that are to be used in the case of an emergency. On the map, you should also include the location of fire extinguishers, any medical first aid kits, and assembly points that you wish personnel to use. Everyone on site should be familiar with at least two evacuation routes, in case one in impassable.
- Medical: There should be clear guidance on what is to be done in the case of a medical emergency. When you call the paramedics, you must be prepared with vital information such as the nature of the emergency and the exact location for the response. Having employees on site with training in CPR and first aid is a must.
- Fire: If there is a fire, the priority should be to activate the nearest fire alarm and call for emergency assistance. A fire should only be fought if the fire department has been notified, the fire is small and not spreading, escape is possible, and proper equipment is on hand. Other personnel should follow evacuation procedures and determine that there are no personnel missing.
- Weather: Weather affects nearly every construction business, no matter where it is located. Whether it is going to be earthquakes, tornados, floods, hurricanes, or some combination thereof, no construction business is on solid ground unless they have good policies and procedures in place to deal with severe weather. These include procedures for evacuation, securing loose construction materials, and other procedures to mitigate damage. Different procedures are required depending on what part of the country you operate in and where your risk is likely to come from.
- Chemical Spill: A chemical spill can be dangerous if not properly and quickly contained. The designated emergency coordinator should be notified immediately and the site secured. Only trained personnel should attempt to clean the spill and should do so with the proper equipment and protection. If this isn’t available, a spill cleanup company should be brought in to handle the issue.
- Structural Accident: Structures, such as scaffolding, towers, and bridges, are common in construction zones and accidents involving them can be devastating. A list of all structures and the emergency response plan for each should be made ahead of time, with all personnel working around the structures being made familiar with the procedures.
- Bomb Threat: While rare, bomb threats do happen, and a plan should be in place to respond to them in a swift and orderly manner. Many companies put together a checklist of numbers to call and procedures in just such an event. This is a good thing to have in your construction site emergency plan.
- Extended Power Loss: While an extended power loss doesn’t seem dangerous, it can be very damaging to equipment if proper measures aren’t taken. Electrical appliances should be switched off so that there are no surges when power is restored. If in an area with freezing temperatures, be sure to turn off and drain any water lines.
If any of these tips on potential disasters make one thing clear, it is the need for being prepared, and nothing says preparation like training. It is crucial that current personnel be given ongoing training in all of these areas so that they will not only be prepared, but your builders risk insurance premiums will also reflect this.
While no one wants emergencies to happen, having a plan in place is always a good idea. Make sure you’re prepared for whatever uncertainties come your way with help from Allied Insurance. Our team of award-winning insurance brokers can help protect your construction companies bottom line through liability and risk insurance. Contact Allied today, and let us help protect your business from all of life’s uncertainties.
*Allied does not deem this blog entry as a complete and thorough listing or overview of the above topic, and does not recommend it be primarily relied on. It only highlights some common issues and resolutions. For a thorough overview, please contact Allied’s Risk Engineering Division.