Safety

Katrina and business: A checklist for resumption of operations; a plan for next time

OSHA Healthcare Connection, September 12, 2005

Businesses, including healthcare facilities, will face imposing challenges to resuming operations in the wake of the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) posted on its Web site a business resumption and disaster safety checklist that identifies post-disaster structural, air-quality, electrical, health/sanitation, and waste removal safeguards.

After a disaster, ASSE encourages all businesses to conduct a hazard evaluation and assessment before allowing employees to return to work and to begin recovery.

Part of recovery should include having or revising a hurricane emergency plan. A basic plan, according to Medical Environment's OSHA Regulatory Manual for Healthcare includes:

  • advanced preparations-rescheduling patient visits, securing equipment and instruments, removing essential records and back-up data storage, boarding up the facility when appropriate
  • hurricane day arrival-assigning responsibility for the decision to close and secure the practice
  • evacuation-ensuring that employees know how to evacuate the facility and where to seek shelter, accounting of all employees after evacuation, and providing contact information for resuming operations

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