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Prepare for the Worst: 5 Tips to be Ready for Disaster

06 September, 2023

Two workers walking down a dark, smoky hallway, following glowing floor marking.

Whether by force of nature or unfortunate accident, disasters can strike at any moment. In the workplace, disaster preparedness is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of employees and the continuity of business operations. Safety managers play a critical role in this process, and visual communication solutions can be an effective way to convey essential information during emergencies.  

Business Impact 

According to the National Safety Council, natural disasters cost the United States economy $145 billion (about $450 per person in the US) in 2019. This includes direct and indirect costs, such as property damage, lost productivity, and medical expenses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an average of 400 people die each year due to extreme weather conditions, and thousands more are injured. In addition, power outages resulting from disasters can cause a range of workplace injuries, from slips and falls to electrical accidents. 

Here are 5 Tips to prepare your facility for a disaster: 

  1. Develop an Emergency Response Plan: Safety managers should work with management and employees to create an emergency response plan that includes evacuation routes, emergency contacts, and protocols for communication during disasters. Signs and posters can be used to create detailed maps of the worksite, identify hazardous areas, and provide instructions for emergency procedures.
  2. Conduct Regular Emergency Drills: Once an emergency response plan is developed, it should be tested through regular emergency drills. These drills can help identify gaps in the plan and ensure that employees are familiar with emergency procedures. Floor marking tape and signs easily highlight evacuation routes.
  3. Provide Emergency Supplies: In the event of a disaster, employees may need access to emergency supplies, such as first aid kits, flashlights, and water. Safety managers should ensure that these supplies are readily available and easily accessible. Post signs and directionals to lead workers to the location of emergency supplies.
  4. Install Emergency Lighting and Power Backup Systems: Power outages resulting from disasters can cause significant disruptions to workplace operations. Safety managers should consider installing emergency lighting and power backup systems to ensure that critical systems remain operational during power outages. Glow-in-the-dark lines and signs are great for emergency exits and identifying emergency shut-offs for power and gas.
  5. Follow OSHA's requirements for Emergency Evacuations: OSHA standards vary by industry and facility type. Adequate egress routes, fire prevention systems, hazardous material labeling, personal safety equipment, and first aid supplies are all the employer's responsibility. Clear, compliant signs and labels ensure that critical information is conveyed to employees.

Protect Your Workers  

Disasters can have a significant impact on workplaces, and safety managers play a critical role in ensuring that employees are prepared for emergencies. Visual communication solutions can be an effective way to convey vital information during disasters and should be included as part of a comprehensive emergency response plan. By following these tips, safety managers can help ensure that their workplaces are prepared for disasters and that employees are kept safe. 



Evacuation in the Dark

Visual Communication and Disaster Response

Emergency Preparation


External Resources

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Getting Started. https://www.osha.gov/emergency-preparedness/getting-started 

Emergency Preparedness Home - National Safety Council. https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness-home 

Emergency Preparedness and Response | Occupational Safety and Health .... https://www.osha.gov/emergency-preparedness/