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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Earthquake At Work

Earthquake at work? If a tremor happens, there’s a good chance it will hit when employees are on the job. Learn how to stay safe at work in this podcast.

Think about it. Workers don’t have a pantry full of food at their workplace. Local transportation may be at a standstill, so workers could be stuck at the facility. Employers need to provide emergency food, water and other supplies in case of an earthquake at work.

Safety leaders should have a disaster plan, including evacuation drills. They should survey the workplace for potential falling objects and other dangers that would be produced by an earthquake at work.


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Dan Clark: Maybe, just maybe, you have an earthquake kit at home. You know, water, food, emergency radio. But what if a seismic slap happens at work?

Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

If an earthquake hits, it may well hit when workers are on the job. What if workers can’t get home after a tremor? Roads and bridges may be impassable. Workplaces should have emergency water and food supplies to last for days.

Every jobsite, warehouse or office has unique dangers in case of shaking. Your location needs to be quake secure. Companies should develop a disaster plan with:

  • Earthquake Drills – Workers should head for cover under workbenches, heavy tables or chairs. Do not stand in door thresholds. That’s outdated, old news. Doorways in modern buildings are no more safe than any other part. Move away from windows, glass or light fixtures. If no cover is available, crouch and protect your head.


  • Emergency Evacuation Area – It’s a nearby, safe place, preferably outdoors, where workers can get together after an earthquake or fire. It should be out in the open, away from buildings or power lines. If there is no open space nearby, designate some other safe place. After the evacuation, don’t forget to do an employee headcount. Plan for people with disabilities and guests who may be visiting. Train teams to handle basic first aid, fire response, search and rescue, and evacuation.


  • Hazard Hunt – As part of a disaster plan, the safety manager should search the facility for potential falling objects, unstable equipment or supplies.


– Tall racks of stored materials pose a great danger if there’s an earthquake at work. The shelves should be bolted to the floor and anchored to the upper walls and ceilings. Stacking and storing should be done carefully, with the heaviest things on the lowest shelves.

– Chemical drums piled on top of each other are very dangerous, and should be stored on shelves with fences. In a spill, incompatible chemicals stored close together could mix. Be sure they are stored separately.



– Hazards include tall shelves, bookshelves and file cabinets. These will tip over unless they’re bolted to the wall or floor.

For other workplace locations, be aware of potential falling objects and structures. Quakes come without warning.

That’s all for this episode, Earthquake At Work. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


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