Everyday in America, 13 people leave for work and never return home. That amounts to 4,690 employee deaths per year. With the use of Emergency Notification Systems in conjunction with Emergency Action Plans, companies have the opportunity to save lives.
Employee Alarm Systems, Mass Notification Systems, Emergency Communication Systems, Voice Intelligibility Systems - they are all slightly different, but they are all the same in what is important. They save lives. Emergencies occur every day, whether they are human error or a natural disaster, employees can act fast with the use of a notification system. With an emergency notification system, companies not only contribute to the safety of employees, but also meet NFPA and OSHA compliancy.
Emergency notification systems are essential in the safety of personnel. OSHA regulations can be unclear, but here are four facts that will help facilities maintain compliancy and keep employees safe.
- There is more to an Employee Alarm System than merely notifying employees an emergency exists.
All plants are required by OSHA to have an Employee Alarm System in working areas (OSHA, section 29, CFR 1910.165). However, the type of system is left to the plant. According to OSHA, section 1910.165(3), "The goal of this standard is to assure that all employees that need to know an emergency exists can be notified of the emergency. The method of transmitting the alarm should reflect the situation found at the workplace."
While the means of alerting employees is the facility's choice, facilities are required to choose an alerting system that gives specific information about the emergency, providing employees with an action such as "evacuate" or "shelter-in-place." Another requirement for emergency notification systems is reliability. Specifically, all systems must be supervised, ensuring a staff member will be notified and rectify any issue with circuitry or power.
2. Employee Alarm System requirements vary based on the number of employees.
In worksites of ten or fewer employees, OSHA recommends "direct voice communication," or shouting. Worksites with more than ten employees use more sophisticated means of addressing emergencies. These include two-way radios, emergency telephone communication systems, site-wide warning sirens, and site-wide voice paging. To comply with the regulation for alerting employees of the next required action, many companies use multiple methods as part of their Emergency Action Plan.