When the earth moves under your feet, or earthquake!

By: August 24th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Now that you felt or heard about the 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered near Mineral, VA, on August 23, do you know what to do next time, or how to assess your workplace in the event of a more destructive earthquake?

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning, but identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake, according to FEMA.

OSHA requires employers to have an emergency action plan that addresses any reasonably anticipated emergency. This could include earthquakes if you are in a geographic location susceptible to such activity. Simple and commonsense precautions include:

  • Secure top-heavy objects such as bookcases and filing cabinets to structural elements of the building.
  • Remove all heavy objects from high shelves. Secure cleaning liquids and other chemicals on shelves to prevent spillage.
  • Remove nonstructural hazards, such as ladders and stacked items.

If earthquakes represent reasonably anticipated hazards to your workplace, download the Earthquake Checklist for Workplaces on the Tool page (look for the new item under the Miscellaneous heading) to assess your organization’s ability to prepare, respond, and recover from an earthquake.

Remember, with many injuries, your medical practice could receive many visits from patients looking for alternative emergency care.


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