RISK EDUCATION—If you have workers out in the field, your company is now responsible for posting location information in case of emergencies.
Effective today (Monday, July 15, 2019), an update of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations requires companies operating in areas without Enhanced 911 to post location-identifying information in a readily-available spot.
Construction sites and other areas where workers would be calling for assistance from cell phones, instead of landlines, should post the location’s latitude and longitude or other easily-identifiable and precise information.
Most construction sites have bulletin boards for posting information and this location would comply with the OSHA update.
An additional safety consideration could be providing employees with the required information ahead of time as an email or text message that could be easily accessible at any time and then changed as worksites are moved.
Your company’s safety programs should be updated to include compliance with this new regulation. Your Safety Director may also have other ideas to ensure that injured employees are not delayed treatment by 911 services.
A local 911 Director applauded OSHA’s safety efforts on behalf of off-site workers and noted, “Anything that will help emergency services locate you is most welcome. I hope it becomes standard for all industry to increase awareness of location and surroundings.”
Remote Construction Sites May Not Yet Have A 911 Address. Make Sure Your Employees Know Their Exact Location In Case Of Emergency.
What’s Enhanced 911?
Although there are still a few places (mostly very rural) in the United States without 911 services, other areas fall into two categories.
Areas with Basic 911 depend upon the caller to provide an address or location.
Areas with Enhanced 911 display exact geographical locations from landlines and wireless phones.
The ability to dial 911 from your home or office phone and be connected immediately to a dispatcher and have your address show up on a computer screen has helped to save countless lives.
But the wireless community is still catching up. Not all carriers have yet improved their technology enough to allow for automatic location listings.
This will change.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is requiring all wireless carriers to implement Enhanced 911.
And although participation is still not 100 percent, OSHA’s new regulation will help to fill the safety gap until the FCC’s plan becomes a reality.
Please note that businesses using VoIP (Portable interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol) services should address the location issues that are possible with these types of devices. The FCC offers detailed instructions at VoIP and 911 Service.
Old Regulation Has Been Updated
OSHA’s Medical Services And First Aid regulations have long required businesses to provide communications systems and/or transportation for employees in emergencies. Initially, businesses were required to post phone numbers for physicians, hospitals and ambulances in areas where 911 was not available.
OSHA is not discontinuing any of the above requirements, but is adding to them with the new regulation for employers to post or provide site locations for those working in remote areas without Enhanced 911.
Avoid Delaying Assistance & Violations
Accidents in the workplace create enough turmoil on their own without frantic co-workers being unable to call for help in a hurry.
Make sure you post exact location information in a central position. And why not consider other ways to provide it for employees, so it’s always readily available?
Hopefully, your work crews won’t need it. But if they do, they’ll get help faster and you’ll protect your company from an OSHA violation.
More Safety Tips For Your Business Can Be Found Here.
(News Credits: Reported In Advisen Digest Front Page News On Friday, July 12, 2019; Reported In EHS Today’s “OSHA Issues Standards Improvement Final Rule” By David Sparkman On July 11, 2019; And Published In The Federal Register’s “Standards Improvement Project-Phase IV” On May 14, 2019.)
(Photo Credits: Pixabay)