Are You Hiding from Emergency Responders?

Oct 14, 2011

By Nick Maier | Senior Vice President

If your organization doesn’t actively manage E911 location information you are increasing the odds that an emergency responder may not be able to find a 911 caller in need quickly enough to help.

It’s that simple.

What should be a ‘no-brainer’ component of an enterprise workplace safety plan is too often overlooked or, worse, consciously passed over. This isn’t a technology problem; a wide range of hardware, software and cloud-based E911 solutions exist to address the issue. More often than not, it’s a business decision.

We often speak in terms of risk management when talking with organizations about improving their E911 protection. And, there are compelling facts that support this discussion such as that failure to provide E911 protection to employees could result in regulatory fines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, could penalize an employer for failing to implement E91 under Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Also known as the General Duty Clause, it requires employers to furnish a workplace which is free from recognized hazards which may cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA may also reject an employer’s emergency action plan if E911 is not included. Penalties for violating OSHA can run from $7,000 to $70,000 per day per employee.

It is a common occurrence in large enterprises for emergency responders to arrive in the lobby of a building in response to a 911 call. Many times the security or lobby staff is unaware that a 911 call was made and therefore unable to provide the location of the caller. These occurrences are well known by the telecommunications and security staff, and the corporation’s conscious choice not to fix a potentially harmful situation exposes it to legal action outside of workers compensation that could result in a multi-million dollar damage verdict.

All that aside, isn’t providing a safe workplace the right thing to do? At the risk of being repetitive, it’s that simple.

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