The actual definition of “shelter-in-place” is part of a coding system whereby employees are given instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency. Shelter-in-place means employers set aside a specific area where employees would have maximum safety.
The actual definition of shelter-in-place is part of a coding system whereby employees are given instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency. Click To Tweet
Shelter-in-place is also a warning code given to employees to protect them from harm. Often, certain onsite safety appointees may call the alert, “Shelter-in-place” meaning; employees should remain indoors, go indoors to a windowless room with no potential for flying debris or stay in place.
National Alert System
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented the EAS (Emergency Alert System) on a national level. As reported by the FCC, “The EAS Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency.”
However, FEMA also reports that the “EAS Test that was designed to assess the President’s ability to send a message to the American people within 10 minutes of a disaster.”
In addition, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently changed the color coded system for alerting citizens to a terrorist attack to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS).
All of these systems are coordinated in workplaces with Shelter-in-Place codes, should a disaster occur that directly affects the region in which employees work.
Americans have learned much about the potential for disasters, natural or otherwise, over the past three decades. OSHA provides a full listing of evacuation plans and shelter-in-place procedures to be followed by employers for employee safety.
Mainly, employers must provide an area of the workplace, “free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.”
Types of Labor Industries Mandated to Provide Shelter-in-Place
In terms of the types of labor industries who must comply with Shelter-in-Place mandates, this includes:
- Educational facilities
- Public facilities such as libraries and museums
- Warehousing and Distribution
It is also important to study each state’s specific laws on compliance for shelter-in-place. Workers whose duties keep them outdoors should be informed by managers of where and how to shelter-in-place.
The Basic Safety Features of Shelter-in-Place
Employees should receive outreach training provided by their employer regarding workplace safety in the event of emergencies. In some states, emergency evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures are practiced by all occupants of a facility on a bi-annual basis to fulfill pertinent state laws.
Shelter-in-Place Procedures for Employers
OSHA places full responsibility for facility warning signs and alarm systems on employers as part of workers safety. Employees who work with heavy equipment or chemicals may also be required to complete OSHA Outreach Training courses.
These are offered online and provide workers with advanced and basic training in 10 and 30 hours safety training courses. Those who complete the course are given an OSHA completion card to validate their training.