Do You Work With Hazardous Materials? 3 Ways To Prepare For A Workplace Emergency

If you work in the hazardous waste field, you have probably received hazwoper training. This training is designed to help you respond to hazardous waste emergencies. If you are exposed – or could be exposed – to hazardous substances, you're required to receive hazwoper training as part of your employment.

However, would you know what to do if you experienced a terrorist attack while at work? With the increase in terrorist threats from around the world, it's important that you know how to protect yourself in the event of a chemical attack while at work. Here are three ways for you to protect yourself from a chemical attack.

Know the Materials You Work With

All toxic industrial chemicals have a basic shelf-life. That shelf-life determines how long the chemicals will remain in the air and how far they'll travel once airborne. If you work with hazardous materials on a daily basis, you should become familiar with those materials. Some of the information you should know includes:

  • Distance chemicals can travel when airborne
  • Physical state of the chemicals – solid, liquid or gas
  • How weather conditions affect the materials – snow, wind, rain

Protective Clothing

Your daily employment routine may not require you to wear protective gear. However, when planning for a potential terrorist attack at or near your worksite, you should plan for the equipment you'll need to have.

Your emergency wear should include clothing that protects against chemical infiltration, including goggles, gloves and portable gas mask. If your employer doesn't provide a portable breathing apparatus, you should talk to them about purchasing them for emergency purposes.

Shelter in Place

If you're unable to evacuate your workspace, you should be prepared to shelter-in-place. This procedure will allow you to safeguard yourself and your co-workers at your present location until the danger has passed. Here's what you'll need to know in order to shelter-in-place.

  • Go indoors immediately
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Turn off all fans and air conditioners that circulate outside air
  • Recirculate the inside air using portable fans
  • Move to a location within the center of the building or in the basement
  • Stay in one place until help arrives

If you work with hazardous materials on a daily basis, you need to be prepared for all types of emergency situations. The information provided here will help protect you and your co-workers in the event of a terrorist attack at your workplace. For more information on emergency preparedness tactics, be sure to talk to your site safety officer. 

Contact a company like National Environmental Trainers to learn more.