ASSE: How to Resume Business Following Deadly Winter Storms

To help businesses and communities resume operations safely after the recent deadly storms, the American Society of Safety Engineers is offering a comprehensive set of business resumption safety tips available at http://www.asse.org/newsroom/release.php?pressRelease=994. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for business resumption following a disaster, businesses should do a hazard evaluation and assessment performed by an occupational safety and health professional, the society says. Its OSH&E professional members put together a comprehensive to-do list for anyone affected by the storms--and for anyone wanting to be prepared for the next ones.

The tips include how to communicate with your employees following a disaster, making sure they are safe and finding ways to assist those who need it, and how to make sure the structural integrity of your building or facility is OK, having it validated by qualified professionals before anyone enters the place. Prior to re-entry, ASSE further recommends clean-up safety tips and proper selection of PPE for the job, as well as making sure the atmosphere in the work environment is tested for asbestos and other chemical/toxic agents. Air quality is a key concern when restarting business operations, the society notes.

Among other recommendations, ASSE says to have vents checked to ensure that water heaters and gas furnaces are clear and operable; for interior spaces, ensure no wall or ceiling materials are in danger of falling; and make sure fire and smoke alarms have been cleaned and tested before allowing occupancy of the building. Have checks made of electrical systems, computer cables, and telecommunications equipment to ensure that they are still safe and there is no danger of exposure to electricity. Wiring inspections should be conducted from the outside in to ensure all wiring and connections are not in danger of shorting out due to water damage from rain or firefighting efforts. These and many more tips are expounded upon at the ASSE Web site, using the above link.

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