Emergency Planning: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place

It is important to be prepared the instant an emergency or disaster strikes. Taking action within the first few minutes can save lives and reduce injury to workers. Emergencies can happen anywhere: Floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes. It is up to you to make sure you have a plan in place for whatever happens. In case of an emergency, it is important to train employees on how to respond. When calling emergency services for help, speak clearly and provide full and accurate information detailing the situation. Have at least one employee trained to administer first aid and CPR. In the case of a weather or other severe event, listen for warnings and follow instructions from local authorities as to whether you should evacuate or stay in place.


Some situations may call for an evacuation of the job site. Because construction sites are constantly changing location and personnel, it can be difficult to maintain an evacuation plan. It is necessary that evacuation plans follow certain guidelines laid out by OSHA. If it is necessary to evacuate, make sure you include the following in your evacuation plan:
  • Conditions that will activate the plan
  • Chain of command
  • Emergency functions and who will perform them
  • Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
  • Procedures for accounting for personnel
  • Equipment for personnel
All employers should make sure that the following items are in place in case an evacuation is necessary (from OSHA):
  • Personnel must be trained and aware of evacuation alarms, routes, and assembly areas
  • There must be personnel assigned to sound the evacuation alarms
  • Exit routes and routes for responding emergency vehicles must never be blocked
  • Personnel should be chosen to be responsible for making sure the job site / structure is cleared of all workers
  • A head count should be taken at the assembly areas to account for all workers
  • Personnel should be designated to notify emergency services/facilities during an emergency that warrants an evacuation
  • Workers do not re-enter the job site until they are notified that the area is safe
  • Workers do not leave the job site (emergency assembly area) unless advised to do so by a designated foreman/supervisor
  • Designated personnel are certified or trained in rescue and medical duties to promptly respond to identified emergencies
Communication is very important on a job site, especially in times of emergency. Having an alarm system in place is a great way to ensure everyone is communicating effectively. There are many types of Alarm Systems that may be used on a construction site:
  • Verbal Communication
  • Vehicle Horn
  • Air Horns
  • Cell Phone
  • Radio
  • Hand Signals

Shelter in Place

It is also a good idea to be prepared to seek shelter in the event of hurricanes, flooding, and other emergencies. You should make sure you are prepared for this type of emergency by putting together a basic disaster supplies kit. A basic disaster supply kit should contain at least the following:
  • Water supply for three days.
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Radio
  • Flash light
  • Materials for personal sanitation
Workers who work in an area at risk for hurricanes should be encouraged to keep an individual emergency disaster supply kit in case they are in a situation where they must shelter-in-place or in case they become stranded during evacuation. For more information on how to handle emergency situations on the job site, consult the OSHA guidelines 3088 or click here.   At Safety Supplies Unlimited, we provide an assortment of compliant and affordable signage including emergency signs, exit signs, and much more. We also take care of all the signage at your construction site. SSU is a distributor of all safety signs required to make your job safer. We offer fire safety signs, construction signs, building signs, and sprinkler signs. For your convenience, contact us to visit your jobsite and assess how many signs you need. We can also install corrugated signage in New York and New Jersey.