Severe weather affects workers across Michigan. Whether you work outside in road construction or inside a factory, your employer should have precautions and plans in place in the event of a severe storm or tornado.
Unfortunately, not every employer does.
Precautions that should be in place
In the spring and summer months, severe weather can involve violent winds, torrential rain, hail, and lightning. Protecting against these elements can look very different depending on where a person is at the time of a storm.
That said, some of the basic precautions every employer should have include:
- Access to safe, marked shelter areas
- Alert systems, including alarms or electronic notifications
- Emergency Access Plans shared with all workers
- Warning devices, including loudspeakers, whistles or flashing lights
- Emergency equipment like first aid kids
Employers can also increase worker safety during an emergency by running regular drills that teach employees where to go and what to do to stay safe in a storm or tornado.
Now can be an excellent time to review your employer’s plan and raise concerns if no appropriate measures exist.
Failures in their preparedness or having room for improvement could ultimately cause harm to workers, as was the case recently when a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse. The event caused critical injuries and six worker fatalities.
While Mother Nature may be responsible for the weather itself, employers are responsible for having protocols to protect workers.
What to do after a weather-related event
In cases where precautions are missing or ineffective, accidents can happen during a storm. Such events can include:
- Structure collapses
- Falling trees or toppled equipment
Workers can also fall off ladders or scaffolding, get struck by hail or suffer broken bones if a moving object strikes them.
Workers injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These can cover a person’s medical bills and partially replace their wages if they cannot work after an accident on the job.
Storm-related accidents can be unpredictable. However, having a plan for emergencies and knowing what options there are regarding workplace accidents can keep Michiganders safer at work.