“PREP” for Workplace Severe Weather Safety

Satellite picture of severe storms in November of 2011

Satellite picture of severe storms in November of 2011

We are now in the fall severe weather season when, on average, we see a spike in the number of tornadoes.  This happens as the seasons change from summer back to fall and storm systems become stronger.   Two years ago, 5 people died and many more were injured when 23 tornadoes touched down in a three-day long tornado event between November 14th and 16th across the eastern U.S.  This  followed a smaller outbreak in the Plains on November 7th and 8th.

If you’re a business owner or a department manager, use the “PREP” plan to be ready for the extreme storms of fall:

Prepare – Have a severe weather safety plan for your company
Respond – When a warning is issued which includes your business, take immediate action – do not wait
Everyone – Have a method for accounting for each of your employees after the weather threat is over
Practice – Run drills to make sure all of all of your employees know and follow the plan

Did you know that while OSHA doesn’t necessarily require a specific tornado plan for your business, you can be fined if someone in your company is killed during a tornado?  Ironically, OSHA investigators will want to know if you had a tornado plan, if your employees were familiar with it and if the plan was put into action when the warning was issued.  Make sure you’re ready for both OSHA and the storms of fall with a good plan and make sure all of your employees know their part in that plan so everyone stays safe!

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