Make Sure Your Company’s Laboratory is Prepared for Mother Nature & Other Emergencies

Lab Safety

If Mother Nature has taught us anything over the last decade, it is that a natural disaster can strike at any time. Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis have all caused billions of dollars in damages just within the last 10 years. In order to avoid being included in future damage statistics, businesses need to be proactive today and prepare an emergency plan so that employees respond the right way when an emergency occurs. This is especially important within those companies that have laboratories to take into consideration when constructing emergency response plans.

Businesses need to develop an emergency plan!
Mother Nature can cause a lot of damage if you are not prepared!
Courtesy of superweather.wikispaces.com

Laboratories that store and utilize chemicals have a particular responsibility to be prepared when a natural disaster or other emergency occurs. These laboratories need to ensure that both employees and local emergency personnel are prepared to handle harmful or toxic chemicals that may be released because of the disaster.

The following list of suggestions will help laboratories prepare their employees and emergency personnel to respond appropriately when disaster strikes:

  1. Be Informed – The first thing a laboratory needs to understand is the type of disasters that could strike within their area of the country. Is your building in the middle of a flood plain or in a place that is prone to earthquakes? Understanding the type of disasters that might occur will help laboratories prepare a proper response.

  2. Inventory On-site Chemicals – Laboratories need to know specifically what chemicals are stored at their location. In addition, they should also know the specific location where these chemicals are stored. Lastly, it is important to be aware of the specific contents of each on-site chemical and any dangers associated with it.

  3. Prepare an Emergency Plan – Based on the information obtained in the first two steps, laboratories need to create an emergency plan. The plan should detail specifics on how to evacuate employees and which emergency personnel should be notified. In preparing the plan, management should consider various scenarios and responses if disaster strikes during working hours, after hours or on a weekend.

  4. Prepare a Business Continuity Plan – Once the initial events of the disaster subside, management will want to restart operations again. A proper business continuity plan will help ensure that key systems and equipment are available in order to carry on business.

  5. Practice the Plan – The best way to ensure that employees respond properly in a disaster is to practice the response before a real disaster strikes. It’s beneficial to conduct disaster drills with employees, and, if possible, even coordinate a practice with local emergency personnel.

One simple way that laboratories can ensure that they have a complete chemical inventory with all of the necessary information is to implement a best practices chemical management system. The benefits of a chemical management system include tracking all of the necessary emergency information regarding onsite chemicals. Having an up-to-date chemical inventory will really help companies adequately prepare emergency plans.

The right emergency plan will reduce the risks associated with a Disaster
Proper preparations can mitigate the risks of a disaster.
Courtesy of emergency.lacity.org

The effects of Mother Nature can arise at any time, possibly with enough momentum to not only disrupt the functionality of your laboratory, but also compromise the safety of employees and emergency personnel. The critical thing for any company is to take the appropriate steps to keep all individuals informed, prepare an emergency plan, and practice the plan. If you would like to learn more regarding how a, Accelrys CISPro chemical management system can help prepare your company for a disaster, please contact us today.

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