Is your workplace safe for everyone, including police, fire and EMS who might have to attend during an emergency?
Here are ten simple steps to help you answer the question:
#1) Take a good look around your workplace. Right now.
#2) Close your eyes.
#3) Imagine you are a first responder seeing the place for the first time.
#4) Open your eyes.
#5) Look around your workplace again but this time, see it from their perspective.
#6) And since they likely aren’t in your workplace for fun, throw in some smoke in the case of fire, or perhaps an alarm in the case of a break and enter.
#7) Now ask yourself: are there any hazards that I am aware of—in the light of day under normal circumstances—but someone unfamiliar with the premise/yard/site, who could be attending during an emergency, wouldn’t be able to see?
#8. If you can’t answer that question, view the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund’s 10-minute safety video, Put Yourself in Our Boots.
#10 If you can answer that question and do see a hazard that could be a potential danger to someone unfamiliar with your premise: fix, change or remove it.
Don’t think a fatality can happen at your workplace?
Think again. It can. It did.
On September 29th, 2000 Calgary police officer (and my husband) Cst John Petropoulos was searching the mezzanine level of a warehouse during the investigation of a break and enter complaint. John stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, fell into the lunchroom below and died of head injuries. There was no safety railing in place to warn him of the danger. The complaint turned out to be a false alarm; there was no intruder in the building.
Here’s what the K-9 officer, who was working with John the night he fell (and started CPR) had to say:
As emergency services workers, we are tasked with protecting our community in environments that are never predictable, always volatile, and often beyond our control. We tread into environments that demand skill and knowledge; where putting one foot in front of the other is a way of life. Still, there are unsafe elements that exist in our workplace that we cannot expect, where only the unexpected happens. The work of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund brings to the forefront the issue of workplace safety after hours…when our community is asleep, we are protecting their businesses and properties, which are often themselves the very menace we face. The JPMF inspires us to carefully continue putting one foot in front of the other while asking that the community helps protects us as we protect them.
- Darren Leggatt, Calgary Police Service
If you’ve never considered the safety of first responders who may have to attend your workplace in case of emergency, you’re not alone.
Here’s a candid comment by an Occupational Health & Safety Manager after hearing a John Petropoulos Memorial Fund workplace safety presentation:
I have been involved in safety for eighteen years and nine of those as a Manager. I am embarrassed to admit that I never thought of the Health and Safety of emergency response workers who may have to enter our property. Hearing the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund’s workplace safety presentation brought awareness about the safety of emergency workers who may have to respond at our facilities.
When we know better, we do better.
For more information on how to make your workplace safe for everyone, please visit jpmf.ca.
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Originally Published on pinkgazelle.com