Current Newsletter

February 2017 | Volume 11 Issue 2.2

 Emergency Preparedness & Crisis Management. With the recent rash of threats nationally against JCC’s and other organizations, it might be a good time to review and update your organization’s emergency preparedness and crisis management plans. Conducting emergency drills are an effective technique for preparing organizations for stressful situations and ensuring that emergency and crisis situations are handled effectively. Drills should be run at least every quarter, including a full evacuation drill at least twice a year. In some areas, such as child care, the department is required by license or by local code to run evacuation drills every month. Check with local authorities to determine which drills must be done and how frequently. Get local agencies like your police, fire and EMS services involved, as emergency personnel should review all your organization’s emergency procedures. They should also be invited to participate in and observe the drill to ensure that the staff is following standards. In addition, when conducting a drill, organizations should always remember to notify the local emergency services prior to activating any alarms. All drills should be documented and analyzed to determine if they are effective, and if procedures should be modified. Special attention must be paid to evaluating how all departments interact. It is important to evaluate how effectively written procedures reflect actual behaviors. Finally, the findings and procedures should be reviewed with all staff members.  For additional emergency preparedness resources see the Safe-Wise Online Resource Library.

 To surprise or not to surprise? A question that often comes up when planning emergency drills is “To surprise or not to surprise”? Emergency drills may be conducted at times when the organization is not busy, or members may be notified in advance that drills are to be conducted during certain intervals. Members may resist taking part in the drills, but this can be opportunity to educate your members and showcase your organizations dedication to their safety and well-being. Your organization may want to consider conducting the drill as a surprise to everyone (except a few people) to more effectively evaluate the level of preparedness.

 Crisis Communication Planning. With news outlets and social media thriving on tragedy, drama and scandal, it is as important for organizations to plan to communicate effectively during times of crisis, as it is to prepare for the actual emergency itself. An effective crisis communication plan will help to manage risks, provide consistent accurate information and protect the image of the organization.  When developing a crisis communication plan, organizations should consider what methods will be used to communicate including media, internet, social sites and personal contact. Consider who needs to be communicated to including staff, volunteers, members, the community, and the media.  Each should all be communicated to in a manner that will be most effective for them. Finally, organizations should identify one key person to serve as the spokesperson in times of crisis. Additional crisis communication planning information is available from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center and the Safe-Wise Online Resource Library.

 Employers must post injury and illness summaries now. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers of their obligation to post a copy of OSHA’s Form 300A, which summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses logged during 2016. The summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted each year between February 1st and April 30th. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in certain low-hazard industries, such as many non-profits, are exempt from the federal OSHA recordkeeping and posting requirements. However, as of January 2015, some previously exempt businesses are now covered. The lists of both exempt and newly covered industries are available on OSHA’s website. Visit OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule webpage for more information on recordkeeping requirements.

 Did you see this in the last E-news:

 What you need to know about (RWI) Recreational Water Illness.   According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in. They are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, and interactive fountains. Knowing the basic facts about RWIs can make the difference between your staff and members having a safe and enjoyable time at your pool, spa, or water park, and getting a rash, becoming sick, or developing other, potentially serious illnesses.  The most important factors to the prevention of RWI’s include: maintaining water quality and equipment; educating pool staff, swimmers and parents; instituting disinfection guidelines like plans for fecal incident response; posting and distributing health information and signage; and finally developing an outbreak emergency response plan. For more detailed information see the Twelve Steps for the Prevention of RWI’s HERE.

Hazard Communication Program; Are you up to date?  If you answered “Yes, my Material Safety Data Sheets are right here at the front desk”, you are most likely not up to date.  MSDS sheets have been replaced by Safety Data Sheets (SDS).  Changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard have brought the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The Hazard Communication Standard in 1983 gave the workers the ‘right to know,’ but the new Globally Harmonized System gives workers the ‘right to understand.’  The requirement for employers to update workplace labeling and hazard communication programs and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards came into full effect on June 1, 2016.  See OSHA’s HCS Fact Sheet for more info.  For an updated model Hazard Communication Program click HERE.

More resources are available in the Online Resource Library.

Note: Printable copies of each article are available in Adobe PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.