Workplace Safety Guides

   Earthquake Safety


For example, if you look around your office and notice something that looks as if it might fall in front of the door in the event of an earthquake, scout out a place to move it.

Start by moving any heavy furniture or equipment that may move and block exits. Some nonprofits, retailers or other entities may help with installing hardware and other nonstructural procedures. Computers and monitors should be secured with seismic buckles, earthquake matting and other earthquake restraining devices.

Tall bookcases or other heavy furniture should be secured to the wall using approved fastening techniques.

Wall-mounted objects over five pounds, such as monitors or televisions, should be connected to structural framing. File cabinets should be secured to the wall.

Drawers should remain locked when not in use. If the drawers are unlocked they can become projectiles.

Wall decorations and pictures should be securely attached to the walls using recommended methods. One option is using a picture snap with Velcro corners. Closed eye hooks or wire could also be used. Potted plants or other heavy items should be properly secured with Velcro or guard rails. Hanging plants or mobiles should be well secured with wire loops or closed eye hooks. AV equipment such as monitors, video players, radios, speakers, and so on should be securely anchored with heavy-duty Velcro, earthquake matting, or seismic buckles.

In going over an office for earthquake safety, one potential move might involve a worker's computer monitor. If a monitor is near windows, and an earthquake were to strike, the glass could blow in on the worker, causing you cuts and injuries. So, the workstation should be moved to a safer location away from the window.

Desks should also be moved away from windows in case they fracture during a quake, or shatter-resistant film should be put on the glass to prevent broken pieces from flying about. Fragile objects should be attached to surfaces using either earthquake putty or museum wax, or placed on earthquake mats to reduce damage or injury.

Also, take high objects down so they don't hurt anybody.

Heavy objects should be moved from overhead cabinets or storage areas. Rolling carts should have their wheels locked. Bookcases should have bungee cords or guard rails to keep books from tumbling off the shelves.

When the ground starts to shake, do not run. Drop, cover, and hold, under a desk or heavy piece of furniture. Remain under the desk until the shaking stops. Every person should have a supply kit containing: water, nonperishable first aid supplies, heavy-duty trash bags, a whistle, a flashlight or light sticks, heavy gloves, a battery-operated radio, and extra batteries.

For more information contact your local emergency management office.

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