For most of the country, Spring is tornado season. That said, a tornado doesn’t look at a calendar, and one can occur at any time if the weather is right. More than 1,000 tornadoes touch down across the country every year, causing an average of 70 annual fatalities. No state is immune; each has had a tornado on record. In fact, California has an average of 11 tornadoes touch down every year.
When we are in school, we have tornado drills. We exit our classrooms, line up against interior walls and assume the position, covering our necks for protection. Once we graduate, we don’t have tornado drills. You won’t be crouching down in the hallway of your workplace any time soon, but believe it or not, your employer does have a policy in place if there are at least 11 employees. At least, they are supposed to.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division, employers should:
Have a Plan
Employees should know where they are supposed to shelter should a tornado touch down nearby or a tornado is imminent. Also, they should know where to head once the tornado has passed. Despite not having tornado drills routinely, it is recommended that they do take place. A tornado drill ensures that everyone understands the written policy and can react appropriately in the case of such an emergency.
Know the Danger Signs
Workplaces don’t typically have televisions tuned in to the weather. Also, they may not have a radio tuned in to a local station. Employers should know what to look out for when it comes to tornadoes. The signs include a dark and ominous sky, wall clouds, heavy rain or hail followed by a “dead calm” and a roaring sound. Any warning sent via cell phone services should be taken seriously.
Look for Shelter
Employers should ensure that their workers know where to go when a tornado is coming. Employees should be guided to an enclosed area on the lower floor that doesn’t have windows. The area should be as close to the center of the building as possible, and workers should assume the crouched position.
If employees are working outdoors or are on the road rather than in the office and encounter a tornado, they should seek shelter in a nearby building. If there is not a building nearby, they should exit their vehicle and lay in an area lower than the elevation of the road.
When It Passes
Once the tornado has passed, your employer should check workers for injuries. Medical attention should be sought for anyone with even a minor injury. Employers should also look for any further weather warnings and proceed with caution. If emergency personnel respond, employers and employees should follow the directions given.
If you have been injured at work in San Luis Obispo and need assistance, please reach out to our office. We can help you file a claim with OSHA or help you if your claim has been denied. Also, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. Call our office today to schedule a case evaluation.