Construction Jobsite Emergencies: When Do You Call 911?

Construction Jobsite Emergencies: When Do You Call 911?

If an accident were to happen on the construction jobsite right now, would you know what to do? Would you know how to sound an alarm, perform a rescue, provide first aid to a victim, or know when to call 911?

OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.35 requires all construction companies to have a “site-specific” emergency action plan in place, and for everyone on the jobsite to be trained for emergency situations, including when to call 911. Since National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 8–14, 2018), is just around the corner, now is a good time to review your company’s basic Emergency Action Plan (EAP).

According to OSHA, minimum EAP requirements should include:

  • Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency
  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to oversee operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan

It’s standard procedure for utility construction jobsite foremen and superintendents to have information about where the closest hospital, fire station and emergency centers are with each job, and to alert workers when logistics, specifications, or conditions change on the job. Even when a minor detail on a jobsite is changed, the company is required to communicate this with everyone. They should also know who is trained in first aid, CPR, and have easy access to first-aid kits.

Every PLH Group company has an early morning safety briefing, 911 emergency information is an important aspect of the briefing.

Your company’s EAP should outline how you are legally protected when you come to the aid of an injured person. “Good Samaritan” laws, “The Cardiac Survival Act of 2015”, and “A Duty to Rescue” vary by state and organization.

Here are some general guidelines to consider when an emergency occurs on the job:

  • Approach the scene with care and look for the source of how the injury occurred, such as a fall, trench cave-in, collapsed structure, chemical spill, electrical shock.
  • Immediately notify the supervisor on site. They will notify the proper authorities and coordinate the scene.
  • If worker refuses to let you help them, or is severely injured, immediately call 911 and do not touch them.
  • If a worker is unconscious, you are protected by implied consent and may assist them within the scope of your first-aid training.
  • If calling 911 by a cellphone, give the call center the exact address, or if out in the field, the nearest intersection or any landmarks.
  • When the victim is safe, have another person document accident area with photographs.

Training is Key

Every employee should be familiar with their company’s EAP. That includes old employees, new employees, subcontractors, temporary employees, employees in the office and in the field. Employees who are required to have first-aid, CPR and AED training should keep their certifications up to date as well.

EAP’s should be reviewed yearly, at a minimum, so the information stays fresh in the minds of all workers. When possible, it’s a good practice to hold drills and include any outside resources such as fire departments. Then ask for feedback so you can identify the strengths and weaknesses in the EAP, and work together with all employees to improve it.

Construction sites are dynamic ones. As the conditions change, they have a direct impact on the job environment. So, take a cue from mother nature, and at the same time comply with OSHA – update your emergency plans with each new job, and retrain workers so they will know what to do when an emergency happens.